Super honoured to host my brilliant friend Kelley this morning as she takes part in a SheLoves syncroblog. Hundreds of women are writing love letters to their bodies. You can check that out here. I wrote mine last week. Be blessed by Kelley’s letter, she is brilliant. I wish she sitting with me having tea here instead of changing the world in Africa. It’s probably better, she’s in Africa, hard to change the world at my kitchen table, but it has been done.
Dear body of mine,
No one knows me as intimately as you, holding some secrets and revealing others. In the deep quiet of night when I am alone, I am not without you. Each morning I wake, I drag you out of bed with me instinctively. We travel in tandem, never breaking stride.
But you do hint at some of our secrets, don’t you? Grey hairs of stress and age, wrinkles not just from time’s passage but from lack of underlying muscle tone, stretch marks that diagram weight fluctuation over years… thankfully those are hidden under the blue jeans we so love. The calloused feet and frayed cuticles make clear that I love flip-flops and all manner of open-toed shoes but am lax in lotioning, less inclined to spend on a manicure when I can get another book instead!
Yes, in the battle between the body and the mind, it is the mind that always wins with me. Confessing that to you proves pointless – you have lived it in every limb. You already know where you sit in the hierarchy. Sometimes, and this is a confession, I treat you as a mere means to an end.
Your hands allow me the honor of holding books, fingers leafing through print-soaked pages. Your eyes see the words dance, synapses work to translate image to idea within the pink folds of my brain. You know when convergence happens ‘up there’ – or when I am closing in on the final pages ready to finish – because my toes curl. Also the ends of my mouth curl into a smile. It is my deepest satisfaction. And you kind of witness it second-hand. Yet still, you serve the greater good and let me carry on, always deferring to mind over (body) matters.
But I am coming to learn, slowly, that none of this happens apart from you. You are the medium through which I mediate the world. Without you the ideas have no way in, no where to go, no lived experience to interact with, no way to breath out new ideas into practice. Embodiment cannot happen without a body, without you.
(I can hear Bono in the background, crooning a lullaby, ‘with or without you, with or without…’)
When God decided to make His presence more palpable still, He chose a body. The sacredness of incarnation is Spirit alive within flesh, moving about the earth. And what things that Holy Body did as feet traversed the Palestinian soil! Body and mind in unison, a tandem holiness let loose in the world leaving freedom, healing, forgiveness and justice in His wake.
That is what I dream for us – that as I mature in my understanding of our connectedness we will be a tandem holiness let loose in this world. Mind and body in irrevocable, unmistakable collaboration to the glory of our Creator because there is work to be done and God needs bodies! He invites us both. I, for one, think we ought to accept the divine summons. But I know that I cannot do it without you.
Shall we dance?
P.S. For the record, while we are getting this all out there:
Thank you for moving me across continents with such stamina. That is how I found my son, my daughter.
Thank you for tackling the daunting 108 sun salutations in a row. I felt so strong that day.
Thank you for unpacking the codes of flavor with your agile taste buds. You allow me to enjoy the most daily pleasures of garlic-laden pesto, black bean and chorizo quesadillas and chocolate chip + orange zest cookies. Really, I cannot thank you enough for that last one.
Thank you for puffy pink lips… need I say more?