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.
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.