My Body

God, thank you for this body.  The one I have right here and now.  I complain about the aches, allergies, digestion problems, limitations, hair line, fat content, beady little eyes sinking slowly back into my skull.  I complain about how my sense of smell has never work, how my eyes need these glasses to make the world something other than a blur; thank you, God, for my singing voice, as pathetic as is, for my shakey hands…

Thank you God for this vehicle to navigate your creation.  Thank you for wiring to feel the breeze on my skin.  Thank you for a mouth that can take in a warm tortilla chip, laden with chunks of tomato and onion and cilantro…  God, thank you for cilantro.

pico-de-gallo-pringles-tortillas

And for the sweet stretch that tugs the muscles and ligaments in just the right way and brings about such a release.  Thank you God for the network of neurons in my brain that draw this map of the world, give me thoughts and feelings and memories.  The very existence of memories is amazing.  People who are gone are not gone, they are always with me, in this body that you gave me God.

Thank you for the sensuality and sexuality and also for child-like pleasures that are anchored in my body.  Thank you for the ways in which I am not exceptional, and thank you for the things I am proud of.  Thank you for the aches and pains that are accountability measures: when I do stupid things, I hurt.  And God?  Thank you for that.

Thank you for the growing humility that comes with aging.  Thank you for curing me of the pride I once had in stupid things, shallow things, things that really had nothing to do with me in the first place.  I remember being seventeen, and just being obsessed with the way I looked.  It boggled my mind that my body was becoming a man’s body, that I had so much… dominion… over how I appeared.  That was probably good for me in its season.  But it would be a little creepy decades later.

And there are other challenges… we all have them.  Ways that I am made that are, in some sense, not ideal.  Struggles and dispositions and wiring that are not connected to my life choices.  Even these, God, in this early morning light, as I sit here, writing out this prayer.  Even these, God…  Thank you.

They have grown me and shaped me, these challenges you put into this body of mine.  If these challenges had never been, ironically, my life would be the worse for it.

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jeffsdeepthoughts

The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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