Thursday, August 18, 2005

The body is the temple of the Spirit

...and mine needs to hold services elsewhere for awhile. My back is out making picket signs.

I fell on the stairs at home in May. I knew I hadn't fully healed yet. I was feeling close to normal before I came down here, but knew I needed to be careful. I forgot that caveat, and forgot how un-used to this intensity of exercise I am. I was slow and draggy yesterday. Today, I'm just hurting.

I was lying on the couch this morning, trying not to whimper and failing brilliantly. My friend got me ice, tissues, water... everything I needed, plus a shoulder rub. I could be forgiven for having a very human body. Then she asked why I was crying. Frustration or pain? Both. "I want to do everything, and I can't." Her answer surprised me. "Maybe that's what God wants you to learn. To have understanding for people who can't do everything."

I've been thinking about that. It sounds awfully close to the idea of being punished for not understanding. I don't think she believes God does that, and I know that I don't. My God is a god of gentleness and love. Hers is too; we weave that love into every conversation. I was so frustrated with myself, feeling the pressure of having a lot to do in very little time--and also afraid of the primal intensity of my anger. It wasn't just about this project. I was feeling all the other times that, in my or my parents' or teachers' eyes, I had not been good enough. I was doing to myself what had been done to me, and I knew it, and was too frustrated in the moment to stop. She told me it was okay to slow down. "I want you to paint, but I don't want you in traction." I knew she was making sense and I wasn't--but I was angry enough to fight it, until I moved and felt the stab again.

She left for work, and I lay on the couch and tried to relax, tried to listen. I realized that if I really couldn't do anything, beating myself up to try to get me to paint the house was illogical. I said, "Okay. What are you saying, really?" Literally as soon as I let go, I felt it: as if a cool liquid were flowing into and through and around all the hurting places in my body and my heart. Gentleness and healing. I didn't experience it in words. It was a lightness, a release, a freeing from what I'd been doing to me. It filled me with an awareness of love, patience, understanding. It gave me the grace to stop, and to breathe, and to focus my mind on what God was showing me.

My friend was right, though it took me awhile to understand. Where I'm going, I will need to be able to touch and be touched by everyone. You can't have empathy for others before you have it for yourself. You get there by love, not by anger. By embracing, not by tearing apart.

It's a nice day and I'd love it if I felt good enough just to take a walk. We'll be doing that this weekend. My back still physically hurts. I'm in need of rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories. And to be patient with myself, and let them work their healing in me.


Catherine said...

You are good enough in God's eyes and thats all that matters. Isn't it great when God speaks to you? I noticed, that God always seems late, until God arrives, and then I realize that God was right on time. Did that make sense?

Mimi said...

Good point, your friend has (sorry about the Yoda speak there). Isn't it amazing when God hits us upside the head with a lesson?

I wish you felt better, though.

Catherine said...

Whoo-hoo! I got the HTML to work, so I could add you to my blog page!! YAY

Catherine said...

Whoever has Kirstin please let us know where to drop off the ransom. We won't call the police, we just want her back. =)

Catherine said...

*******Tumbleweeds rolling by******

Catherine said...

Name: Kirstin
Age: YOUNG 30's
Sex: F
Description: A super cool hippie chick who loves God.
Last seen: Somewhere in Northern Califoria with a smashed thumb and an aching back.