Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Body Talk

We have mirrored cabinets in our bathroom. Their height on the wall perfectly positions them to give me a truncated shot of my torso as I step out over the side of the bath. This makes me sad.

I'm not going to lie - I miss my old body. I wish I didn't. I wish I wasn't that superficial and I don't say it out loud very often, and I don't let myself get sucked into all the post-pregnancy body fanaticism that's out there (and believe me, it's out there). I dress well and I'm thankful I can walk / sit / stand / lie-down in comfort again - for a while I wondered whether that was ever coming back. I'm grateful.

I tell myself it's temporary, even though I know some things will never go away. I tell myself it's a small price to pay, and I know that's true. And I count my blessings and pray for people with actual physical challenges, not cosmetic disappointments. But when I'm forced to be honest with myself, when the mirror reminds me of what I currently look like, I do still feel a little twinge. A little bit of self-pity for the sacrifices I have made.

The other day I was listening to some music in the bathroom. Truthfully, I was hiding out for a bit. Under the pretence of cleaning the bathroom and myself, I was going slow, snatching five minutes to refocus and pretending that I couldn't hear the wailing and the attempted soothing going on in the next room. I was listening to some music and the mirror thing happened and the little sad sense of loss came over me. And then I heard these lyrics:

"How wonderful
How glorious
My Saviour's scars

Jesus kept his scars. He is so proud of us and what we cost Him that in His brand new resurrected body - the ultimate upgrade - He kept the scars from the cross. I find that so hard to identify with. I'm so saturated in our culture of external "perfection" and appearances - I really struggle to work out the rationale behind that choice. But I think it maybe has something to do with value. 

My body talks. It tells a story now. If my body was a vintage coat the anecdotes in these imperfections would raise its value. My body has done something wonderful and come out the worse for it. But some scars are valuable reminders. Reminders of where we have been, what we have done, what we have conquered. And of our fragile, finite humanity and the gift we can give of ourselves to others while our time here lasts.

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