Monday, November 21, 2011
Giving Thanks for Your Body
I am not normally a sickly person, but last winter, all the illnesses I had adeptly dodged and evaded for the first 32 years of my life rallied together, cornered me, and began to deliver blow after blow of colds and flu and stomach viruses to my once healthy body in the span of about 3 months. By the time the last one gave me a sucker punch to the gut (literally), my sanity hung by a thread. Yes, in my self-centered way, I questioned the goodness of God. I mean, why would a God who loved me allow me to keep getting sick?
Theologically, there are all sorts of problems with that question, but I won’t go into those today. But I will expound upon is the answer that God gave me.
After I sensed Him chuckle to himself and mutter something about Job, I really felt Him lead my spirit in the direction of this one thought: Your body is a gift so be thankful for it.
What I realized was that through all that sickness, I subconsciously began to care about my body more deeply than I ever had before because suddenly I understood all that it allowed me to do. Up until that then, the only time I thought about my body was in relation to whether I felt fat or skinny. Really, I didn’t want to think about my body because usually the thoughts left me feeling a lot of self-hate. So as much as I could, I avoided thinking about my body.
However, when I was sick, I couldn’t help but think about my body all the time: how it felt when I ate this or that, how my head spun or throbbed when I walked around, how my arms and legs felt weaker, how my breathing was more difficult. In a strange and sort of lovely way, sickness forced me to get attune to my body.
As sad as this may sound, for the first time I can ever remember, I finally felt thankful for my body. For 32 years, it had walked me around this earth, allowing me to hear the hymns my mom sang to me every night as a child, to pedal my purple Huffy Ewok bike on across town treks with my dad, to kiss my dashing brown-eyed husband on our wedding day, to scream and struggle 4 babies into this world, to run my fingers through my son Cade’s hair, to tickle my daughters and tell them stories when I tuck them in at night, to cradle my baby Sam when he wanders groggy and smiling into our room every morning, to feel my husband’s hand cupping the curve of my hip as we talk late into the night…and I never once thought to be thankful for this body that has brought me thus far.
This Thanksgiving, I encourage you to take some time to thank God for the body He has given you. I don’t care how much it weighs or what size it wears. Think simply this: your body is the only thing that gives you a presence on this earth and it is a tremendous gift.