Category Archives: Body
” I am special because … I am really good at playing soccer.”
Saw this today. A mother’s shout-out from her teacher-parent conference, complete with an image of her young child, kindergarten age, with a quotation bubble completing this phrase. His smiling face hovered atop a cutout body, colored with red and green crayolas.
It is no surprise that this child has skills advanced for his age. His parents are dynamite soccer players. From the cradle, he has been immersed in this game. It’s a great game. Wonderful to teach children how to use their bodies well, and when they’re older, how to work with teammates, how to take direction from coaches, how to focus on what’s important and not on all that chatter from the sidelines.
But little one, though today you may excel at playing soccer compared to your teammates or classmates or age mates, there will come a day when, by comparison, you may fall short. And on that day I hope you will remember what was true long before this day. I hope you hear it from your teacher, your coaches, your parents — even and especially if they’re also you’re coaches: you are special before you ever take the field.
I know they feel this way, but perhaps in the muddle of midget soccer things have gotten confused or at least confounded. You have connected yourself with capability and so you wear your confidence proudly. You’re rewarded for your accomplishment and it becomes hard to distinguish yourself from it. It’s who you are; it’s what you do; it’s what you love to do, what you’re meant to do, where you’re meant to be, who you’re meant to be; it’s what you’re made for.
How I would love this for you, if only….
If only, instead of “I am special because I can…,” you could begin with “I am special because I am …..” Unique in all the world. The only me that will ever be. Nothing compares with that.
Be bold, little one, but first, be you.
What makes us fit? A good fit?
Our shape? Size? Color? Language? Nationality?
Our behavior? Net worth? Service record?
Our church membership? Community service? Volunteer hours?
Our education? Employment? Contribution?
How many lives we’ve touched?
How many stories we’ve listened to?
How many hands we’ve held?
How many sacrifices we’ve made?
How many gifts we’ve given?
What we’ve done? What we’ve left undone?
How much we pray?
How often we meditate?
How acquainted we are with God? a Higher Power? a Supreme Being?
How many Bible verses we can quote?
How obedient we are?
How dutiful, faithful, diligent?
What makes us fit for the Kingdom? a good fit in the Kingdom?
Our Creator does.
The One who knows the shape of the Kingdom space we were created to fill.
What does Creative shaping feel like?
A spin-whirl-hum, twirling,
A pinch-push-pull, settling,
A chisel-whittle-hone, admiring,
A plant-water-fertilize, tending,
A spark-breath-glow, emerging
Going, grasping, gauging,
round and round, in and out,
down and up and toward.
All for the want of light.
The light of love pulls us
When darkness comes,
Love reaches for us.
Our hand fits perfectly in This hand.
Our body nestles perfectly into This bosom.
Our soul rests perfectly in This soul.
In our Creator’s image, we fit.
We always fit.
“I declare my courage to participate in the building of the reign of God that is in the world and in me.” ~ Henri J.M. Nouwen with Nathan Ball
Remember this commercial? AT&T 1987 “Reach out and touch someone”, AT&T hoped, would inspire us to give that special someone a call. Long distance was just a phone call away. Spend a little time with your friend or loved one. They’re worth it.
That was before cell phones and the internet made everyone feel like they were in your living room even though they weren’t. No need to reach out when we’re all right here!
Yesterday, I got a call from someone scheduling a service appointment. (That’s the way they do things here in Williamsburg — they call. no text. no email.) She was apologetic. Hadn’t written down my request and now was trying to make things right. We’ve never met, but out of the blue she tells me, “You wouldn’t believe what I did yesterday.” Turns out this woman’s fishing excursion at the pier gave her a front row seat for the shooting of 4 people: 2 adults and 2 children. One of the children is in very critical condition after having been shot in the spine. “I hope he makes it,” she said.
This morning as I fumble with words to express how the world leaves me feeling these days, I have landed here on the blog with you. I am also reading a book by the late Candace Pert, PhD, called Molecules of Emotion. It addresses the bodymind network of connection and the power of our emotions to effect our physical and mental well-being. Indeed, it has called my attention to the power of the negative in our world which is stealing, not only our attention, but our health.
I had just seen headlines about this shooting because it was a “most read” item in the digital distribution of our local paper. It begged me to click… and be tormented. I started and then stopped. The woman who witnessed it now cannot stop. So much so that she is confessing it to a total stranger.
This brings me back to what I set out to do here at the KC blog. To offer a word of hope or help that originates from our physical nature. Heck, if I get stuck on something I head for my bicycle so I can get a good think. In recent days, I have started and stopped so many drafts of posts because what I have to say here seems irrelevant (perhaps even irreverent, given all the calls for thoughts and prayers) compared to all the “big” things happening in our world. What can one voice, one person, one soul offer that could possibly contend?
Suddenly, I hear the late, great Aretha Franklin calling us …
“Reach out and touch
Make this world a better place
If you can…”
How many times has a gentle hand or a loving word touched me? These are the things that still resonate as the chemistry of memory that my “bodymind” stores. Still there to lift me up. There to supply. There to inspire. Surely, there to drown out the sounds of hopelessness that pervade our headlines. There is always a reason for hope. It comes to us one touch at a time as we offer it one person at a time.
Who is the one who reached out and touched you? May we all go and do likewise.