Isn’t it funny how it’s taken my lifetime to call you lovely? And mean it? And see it? And know it?
You’ve always been lovely, strong one.
It took me too long to notice.
But here, now, let me just say it and then, like a prophet, let me believe it, and live into the truth of it every day: I’m thankful for you. And I love you.
I’m thankful for the freckles scattered, for how they speak of my summer days at a cold prairie lake, and my redheaded dad. I’m thankful for the bend in the bridge of my small nose, bent on a bunk bed frame. I’m thankful for the grey hairs stubbornly reappearing, and the decided line to the left corner of my mouth, I’ve always started to smile a bit crooked, and now it shows, bless you. Thank you for the small scar on my wrist, from that time when it was scratched on a door handle, you remember that time, oh, yes, making out with that boy in high school, and the chicken pox scar on my left hand. Thank you for the ease of my skin and the stretch marks, thank you for these too-big-for-fashion breasts, they have satisfied the ones I love best. Thank you for my height, rooted, and thank you for my arched eyebrows, I’ll give you a high-five and a good-on-ya because we’ve never had to pluck and that’s all on you. And thank you for this small pointed chin, and thank you for my hands, they are starting to look like Mum-hands, and I rejoice in their hard worn strength. Thank you for my legs, for my womb, for my heart still pumping the blood of pioneers longing for a bigger sky. And thank you for my knees, how they bend easily, at last, to Creator, and thank you for these eyes that see beauty in the strangest places, for the mother-blue of them, and thank you for the very physical and very real self of it all, thank you for helping me to worship and see and know beyond my brain and my heart, and reminding me that this, the created self is good. And thank you for good hard work like birth, because otherwise, I might not have ever known how capable and strong and life-giving you are, and I look at these babies you’ve carried, and I remember the smell and heft of them on my chest, on my soft belly, the very second that they emerged from my own body, gulping air, blinking in surprise at life, and I remember how I knew that they were good, good, good, and this thing that I had done, this was good, too. And we were all restored to joy, again and again, because I couldn’t stop laughing, every time I gave birth, when it was over, I laughed and laughed in relief and wonder, ancient Sarah, God laughs here at promises fulfilled.
I’ve learned at last to be gentle with you, Body. Gentle with my words, gentle with my thoughts, gentle even with my hands, here, let me put some sunscreen on you. I’ll be kind to you.
I’m sure now that this is the body I have and this is the body I will have and this is the body I always had, and this is how I am going through life, with you, and we forever putting one foot in front of another, lungs filling with the glorious miracle of dust breathing.
I like you better now, than I did when you were lithe and younger, with a concave stomach, in those days, I only saw your imperfections and I hid you, ashamed of my very physical self, very real, undignified self. Now, I laugh, an understanding and tender sort of chuckle. I wish I had worn more bikinis in those days, and I wear my bathing suit at the pool, in front of God and everybody, and I get my hair wet, and I put on red lipstick, and I’m quick to kiss, to turn over and say yes, to reach out my hands, to touch, I honour you.
So here, let’s settle on down, let’s be young and strong a bit longer, let’s run, let’s walk, let’s breathe a bit longer and then let’s age beautifully and tragically together. Let the heft of the baby on your hip be enough, let the moment of holding a sleepy sun-drained babe with tired eyes to your breast, the moment when you are feeding her body and soul, enough. Let your back be bare to your husband, change with the lights on and send saucy glances over your left shoulder at the man you taught how to unhook a bra. Put lotion on your thighs and bless them, eat food that makes you roll your eyes back in your head with a groan of delight, hug, touch, wonder at your own muscles and sinews, welcome the tears, let them fall the way that they have needed to fall, and laugh laugh laugh, now we know, you taught me, didn’t you? A big and wild love is the most gorgeous thing we could ever put on.
Love and gratitude,
This post is part of an inspired SheLoves Magazine synchroblog. Write your own love letter to your own body and then link it up. It would do you good.