Who’s tired of bad news? Me too. Here’s a little gathering of beauty from around the Internets I’ve rounded up for you. They’re mostly about our bodies and minds and human limitations, which are things I think about a lot these days. I hope you enjoy.
I want to tell them that the breath and the blush come in an instant, but it takes years to get it right. When you say “I do,” you picture yourself as Superman; more often, you resemble Everyman—tough to keep your cape looking neat and tidy while you’re naked. Some nights are all sweetness and haze, and you can’t untangle. Some nights you retreat to your corner of the mattress, rummaging for all the fig leaves you can find.
I want to loosen my grip and tell them of awkwardness and shame, how our bodies make promises, break promises, and make up for broken promises still. I want to say something about the battle of being known, convey that every inch of her is worth fighting for, that better is one day lying next to her than a thousand elsewhere. But I hold back my words in the name of propriety, for the sake of honoring the mystery.
And she knows what I am going to do, and I know what I am going to do, and it seems like a long slow dance towards her. And in those few seconds, those couple of heartbeats, that 5:15 pace, I reflexively calibrate the amount of pressure my moving hand is going to impinge on her shaking, trembling, papery fingers. And I raise my right hand to meet her own upraised hand, and as I breeze past we give each other the gentlest, gossamer soft high five, me being careful all the while not to hit her bandaged fingers.
The idea that my body had internal wisdom built into its DNA was antithetical to everything I had believed to be true about what it meant to nourish and cherish your body. Trust my bodily intuition when it comes to eating? You might as well ask me to scale Everest. I couldn’t remember a time when I had made eating decisions based on internal cues.
The evidence supporting intuitive eating, as it turns out, is undeniable. We don’t get to decide how our bodies are created to function—we only get to accept it or reject it. My body had cared for me exactly as it had been created to do, and I hated it for that. I believed the lie that the true me was a disembodied brain that should be able to bend my body to its will. It turns out that the true me was an embodied soul with creaturely limits and realities designed by a good creator.
If you've been in seminary long enough, you will know that for many people it involves the experience of deconstruction. Things you long thought or believed or did are questioned, or put under a different light, or deepened and expanded, or refuted and qualified, or they lose their taste altogether and you're left hungry for something better, richer, truer, but you can't quite figure out what that is just yet.
Parents, we ask you to hold your applause until the names of all the medal winners have been announced. When the ceremony is over and your child has not left her seat, though nearly every other kid is taking home ribbons and trophies and enough scholarship offers to make a real dent in the national debt, please take a few moments to congratulate the winners as they head off to their well-earned celebrations. Then we ask that you return to your seats. We have a few special achievements left to acknowledge.
I’m giving away a gift card for a massage in your local area. If you’re interested in taking part, mosey on over here.
Also, I’m delighted to announce that Handle With Care is ready for pre-order. If you’re not sure why you should pre-order (or if), here’s Sarah Mae on some thoughts about why pre-ordering is great for you and the author. Click here or on the image below to preorder!
Here’s a little teaser of what you’ll read when it releases, from the chapter on touch within the nuclear family unit:
For the whole of our lives there will be some who try to hold us back physically, spiritually, mentally, or emotionally from moving forward into the best of what Jesus has for us. They will do it because they earnestly believe they are doing what’s best—not because it is best, but because it seems best. When it comes to touch, they will discipline too harshly or not at all. They will withhold touch or give it sinfully. They will be cold in response to our touch or effusively suffocating with it. And Jesus is right there in the midst of it all. In this passage, he moves into the space of what seems best to the disciples and says instead what is best: “Leave the kids alone and don’t try to hold them back from me—these are the ones the kingdom is for!” And then he places his hands on them for a blessing.
In every family since the very first family, we have used our hands for good and evil. Adam never raised his hand in protest to stop the serpent from deceiving his wife, as far as we can tell. Eve used her hands to pull the fruit from the tree and then hand it to her husband. Their son used his hands to kill his brother. Their descendants used their hands to rape women, remove children from their home, deceive brothers, defeat giants, kill lions with their bare hands, bear gifts for an infant King, and then nail him to a cross. Every person who has ever lived has used their hands for harm and for good, and each one has done it thinking it seemed best in the moment.
Perhaps they were blinded by a white-hot rage like I was when I slapped my brother across the face, yet the rage was born in an unspeakable grief—Jesus sees that grief and died for it. Perhaps they were blinded by generations of broken fathering or abject disappointment in their own parenting—our Father shows himself to be a better Father. Perhaps they were merely guided by what they saw their parents doing—the Spirit is a better guide. Perhaps they were enacting out of lack, out of what they wish their parents had done—the Spirit gives a better comfort. Or perhaps they feel they have no control over their body—here, our God shows himself to be more sovereign. Jesus cares about the little children and the hands he lays on them are full of blessing. He inserts himself right into the narrative of what seems best in the moment to show what is best, and he does so using his hands.