I used to think I had never been cruel to anyone. But now I realize I’ve been cruel to you, for years. I have despised your short torso and extra weight. I have complained about headaches and stomach aches, only to find out I was causing them by what I was feeding you. I have railed about my big chest that makes clothes-shopping a nightmare. I have lamented your lack of athletic prowess. And I have said horrible things about you for as long as I can remember. But you don’t really deserve my disgust and frustration. The positives far outweigh the negatives and yet I have had laser-like intensity focused in on the parts of you that I despised.
With the challenge to write a love letter to my body, I scoffed. I can’t do that. I don’t love my body. But then this small voice said, “Who are you to despise what you have been given?” Ouch. How have I become so ungrateful? I’m very tempted to just write this apology letter to you. That would be much easier than a love letter, but that is not the task assigned. I can’t say right here and now that I love my body…my whole body…yet. But there are things I love about you. I can be thankful for all you’ve seen me through and I can begin to be kinder, gentler and more thankful every day. And maybe, with a change of heart and attitude, I will soon be able to say, without wincing, that I love you, stretch-marks and all.
You know that I shy away from things that make me uncomfortable and writing a love letter to my body makes me extremely uncomfortable! But we never learn if we are never uncomfortable, so here goes:
I love that you’re tall because you can help little old ladies reach things off the top shelf at the grocery store.
I love your long legs that caught hubby’s eye, in a mini-skirt, so many years ago.
I love that you were able to carry four healthy babies and deliver them without issue. (You are strong and I didn’t give you much credit for that!)
I love that you were able to nurse all four of those babies with enough milk that you could have started an infant food bank. Not everyone is blessed with that gift.
I love that you have vocal chords that can sing praises and tell stories.
I love that you love chocolate. Because I have actually met someone who doesn’t and I can’t fathom that.
I love your blue eyes, small ears, straight teeth and big lips and maybe even your big chest, because hubby loves all those things and that matters.
And I love that your smile brings joy.
You have been stronger and more resilient than I have ever given you credit for. You have endured my diet phases and my “I refuse to diet” phases. You have sacrificed yourself with countless mid-night hours of nursing and rocking and nursing and walking and nursing again, all to give your babies what they needed. You’ve allowed me to be a mom.
You have endured the scorching heat of Africa so you could show love to those who need it. Your arms held a woman who’s baby boy was dying. Your feet danced with wide-eyed orphans. Your hands held the ebony hands of an AIDS victim while your head bowed in prayer. And you allowed a part of your heart to be left there on that dark continent, a constant reminder to pray for our brothers and sisters there. You’ve allowed me to be an agent of hope.
Lately, your fingers have been flying across the keyboard more than every before, into wee hours of the night, so I can begin to tell the stories I’m supposed to tell. You’ve allowed me to become a writer.
Body, without praise or credit from me, you have allowed me to be who God created me to be. We have more to do. And I can’t promise I won’t get mad at you still, from time to time. But I promise to treat you better and to stop taking your for granted.
It’s easy to focus on what I want to change and in the process, forget all that I should be thankful for. I have strong legs and arms that work. I have eyes that see, ears that hear, taste buds that taste. All these things are gifts I have taken for granted. So this love letter is a reminder for me. Take nothing for granted. Be thankful for and take care of what I have been given. How about you? Do you have the courage to write a love letter to your body? I didn’t think I could do it. But I did and not only that, I published it for all of you to see (feeling faint!). Give it a try. I think you’ll be glad you did!
P.S. In my last post, I said my next one would be about personality styles. I am working on that one but wasn’t planning on publishing a new post till next week (on vacation this week…woohoo!) But then I was hi-jacked by reading Sarah Bessey’s love letter to her body today and had to write and post this one. So…I promise, the next post will be the one about personality styles. Just in case any of you are keeping track. 😉
Photo Credit: Courtney Campbell Photography