Oh, my. This chapter is so powerful in and of itself that my words will only get in the way. So I'll keep my comments brief.
If you are someone who has had, is having, or know someone who has health problems, this chapter is for you.
It's a love letter to your body.
It starts out saying, "Sometimes, I hate you. You ache. You get tired sooner than I'd like to admit. You wake me in the night for no good reason. Your cells duplicate at unpredictable rates. New gray hairs and fine lines and silver stretch marks show up out of nowhere. You let me down just when I need you the most" (p 156).
Further down the page, it says, "Yet here we are. This flesh and bone. These cages. These places of freedom and constraint" (p 156).
It's beautiful and terrible, don't you think?
These words - "this flesh and bone. These cages. These places of freedom and constraint."
These bodies of ours - imperfect, flawed, beloved.
With the passing of each day, our bodies bear the marks of time and love and grief and life, marks worn into our skin. "This is the beautiful, terrible evidence that we have lived" (p 158)
Blessed are these imperfect, fragile bodies. This flesh and bone. These cells that sometimes duplicate for no reason whatsoever. This skin that is stitched together with scars and stretch marks and fine lines.
Blessed is the body because it is a home. Not just for us, but for those who love us (p 159).
At the end of "A Blessing for the Body" on page 159, she writes, "And sometimes you need to stand in front of the mirror and take off all your clothes, and remember that this body, your body, is God's home address."
So that's my suggestion for today. Do that if you can.
And if you can't, stand in front of the mirror and read Psalm 139 -- click here for Eugene Peterson's "The Message" version, which is dear to me.
Here's a snippet:
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.