Carol Brennan King June 18, 2020
A Meditation about My Body, what about yours?
I never thanked God for my body, I simply took it for granted. Well, maybe there were a few times when I appreciated the body I had been given, like the day I saw a woman in Ecuador sitting beside a black garbage bag, big enough to hold the torso of the child whose head protruded from the bag in the middle of the top. No part of the bag inflated by the humps of arms or legs. Or the day I watched a child, swinging his paralyzed legs behind him, walking on his hands down a dusty road in Africa.
But it is only now, I must confess that I have finally gone to sleep thanking God for this healthy body. Daily I hear news of people dying because of the virus stalking our world for new hosts and I think it has changed us all in new ways.
I feel my body growing tense so this must be important that I explore this because I am seeing a place of neglect. I have taken this amazing body for granted. I am 73 years old and my heart beats steadily on, 70 bpm unless I am exercising. Then it works harder to get the oxygen my lungs need to nourish the whole body for the task at hand. Thank you God that my heart is not failing me, as it did my mother at 53, my father at 70.
I am 73 years old and my lungs are working, in and out. No black plaques like so many of my generation, plaques of disease lining their lungs because we bought the lie that tobacco was harmless. But you God kept me from that. Thank you.
I will walk in a park today. My body will take me there and I will breathe in the perfume of tree blossoms and the familiar green musky fragrance of creek water because I can breathe and because I can smell – what a delight I have forgotten. That I can smell. The fragrance of the pork chops and pineapple and sweet potatoes simmering in the crock pot upstairs, the peonies in a clear glass pitcher on the counter, their fragrance pink in the air like their petals. How could I have taken for granted this amazing sense?
I will walk. My legs will hold up this overweight older, I will not say old because I don’t feel old, body. My legs. I have a friend having a leg being amputated today. I have two legs that work and I don’t think I have said thank you for that. So thank you God for legs that work.
How could I miss the reality that I have eyes that see? Yes, I need glasses to help them see better, but I live in a time when I can get glasses that allow me to sit here and read the words my fingers type into being on a computer screen that my brain could not imagine in my childhood. Thank you for seeing eyes and a brain that imagines, and neurons and protons and all other kinds of -tons zipping around making synapses, that connect thoughts and images and make words and ideas come out the other side of their work.
Thank you for fingers that serve as machines receiving and transmitting the ideas and dreams of my mind to a keyboard to a place where I can share them on a screen where I read with my eyes and understand with my brain the ideas and dreams of others.
Thank you God for giving me this body and thank you for this class that has reminded me that taking things or people for granted is a dangerous thing, meant to rob us, to rob me of the joy, that quality of life that thankfulness gives. And I wonder if joy, the product of appreciation is the greatest pleasure of all.