Tuesday, January 17, 2012

the way we should talk about women's bodies.

(Mmmmm.  Below you will have a chance to watch the beautiful documentary that spurred this post on. Enjoy)

If you are a woman, and anything like myself, you hit points in your life when you look in the mirror - or over the muffin-top at your belt line (if those pants still button up...) and feel frustrated and exhausted.  Or those faint lines creeping across my forehead - the marks of two years, part time and grad education - but not clearly having it together at the gym.  Or in life.

I feel imperfect.  Unmotivated. A failure.  An apathetic steward.  The antithesis of health in health care professional.

I feel downright discouraged! Angry even.  Haven't  I been hard at work?  Hasn't my work been pleasing and diligent?
  How is this my reward?

The tummy that's never quite flat, the hair that's always 'too' flat or wind-swept or humidified, a chest that defies cute, teeny bathing suits, the thighs that are 'child-bearing' in appearance.

Here's the deal with how I'm thinking.  It's wrong.  All wrong.  Very wrong.
I misunderstand my body -
        and the marks of trail over it telling where I've been.  Where Christ has been - and etched His mark.

I have worry lines.  I went through a really terrible depression.  I could have lost my mind or my life.
I might not have had breath to pinken my skin, nor the
   creases, where Christ came and dwelt and saved me.

I have laugh lines too.  Where I learned the names of new friends, and gained and appreciation for red wine, and learned that life was not all about school. 
I have laugh lines,
           because God expanded the stretch of my understanding.

I have flabby arms.  Perfect for resting on a tabletop for hours as I tapped away at keys, letting the fingers be nimble without complaint,
          because God helped me focus on the tasks before me, without thought to the consequence.

I have a tummy.  Where I leaned against the back of a chair, when I wasn't lifting and turning human bodies or leaning into a hug,
         because God taught me to lean on something other than myself.

I have breasts and a bottom that with great certainty, prove the existence of gravity.  And they are just there really.  The comfort factor of the bottom came in handy, all of those long hours studying and writing,
          because God taught me that purpose is revealed in the fullness of His time.

I have the teeth and the tremor that mark me a coffee 'addict'.  And I swore I'd never be one, or possibly enjoy such a little cup of zippy pleasure,
          because God knows our frailties, and how hard it is for me vacate my cozy bed in the morning, or stay alert and oriented through a department meeting.

Sure, I have goals to shape up.  But the motivation changes, right - when we look at our bodies this way.  This film reminded me of the gift it is to be marked.  To be stretched.  To have the gift of holding life within and before us.

  Vessels, frail and imperfect, but used for good, good work, to the glory of God.

Monday, January 02, 2012

rumpled reflection.

It's New Years day.
  I'm getting ready to be with the Body, though I'll show up late...

Brushing my teeth and combing my hair,

I look in the mirror.
I don't like everything I see.

   What we put into our lives, shows up -
Too much coffee, not enough sleep or veggies,
  the unkempt heap of papers on my desk and clothes in the back of the closet,
   plus effects of wine & bread & cheese, and not enough: gym-time, walk-time, get-out-and-run-even-though-you-hate-it time.  And that's just the exterior stuff.

This is a tough moment.
  because I remember what it feels like to hate this rumpled girl in the mirror.
   I'm afraid of the lines and wrinkles,
  the messy desk, the dishes to be done,
      and the well padded-corners - the droops that muscle has now gone extinct. 

I'm afraid of what this relfection might tell:
              that I didn't try; that while my focus was elsewhere this happened.

I sigh.

I don't want this fear anymore.  Because fear will motivate you for all of the wrong reasons.
           It will destroy you,
         just when you think you've secured victories. 
You'll find you're just standing upon a heap of filthy lies - with a false mirror, trying hard to make believe it's real.  And becoming even harder with hate.

Lord have mercy.  Transform me with Your love,
      so that in the rumply reflection there is find love not fear mirrored back - hope, not despair, freedom not hate.

To Him who has come, and who is able, be all glory & honour of 2012.  Amen.