Thursday, January 27, 2011

What Good Are Bodies

I have a body
It’s solid, liquid, hard, soft,
And everything in between
The inside me and the world

My thoughts have nowhere to go
Without a body
If I think a thought, it is only a matter of time before
Anger speeds my heart or slants my brow
Fear dimmers my eyelids or tears my hangnails
Love tingles my back or swells my belly
Joy turns my lungs to bellows, my eyes to crescents, or
My steps to skips and swirls

Sticks and stones and
Words hurt bones
Whatever you say bounces off my insides and
Sticks to my flesh
Like a cave creates stalactites from the tiny, drips
Flesh forms patterns
From the drips of thoughts over time
Time over time, ages on end until
Heads ache
Hands itch
Flesh groans
Sleep fails
I decay

When I don’t listen to my thoughts
My body turns up the volume
I may kick it like a mule
Carry on!
I may treat it like an enemy or a stranger
But it is always a friend
My conscience when conscience fails
My own truth test
I can count on my body to become
Who I truly am

(There was a man at the post office, maybe 70
Bent over, back like a turtle’s shell
I held the door so he wouldn’t fall as it swung back,
He did not become a humpback overnight
He did not go to sleep one day and wake up bent)

Bodies erode quietly and slowly
Yes, gravely and grandly, like a canyon
Through neglect, decay and a million distractions.
They are the main attraction
What we get when we’re born
What we shed when we die
Our trade in on Judgment Day
The wand in our hand
To bless, to curse
Wage war, make love
Our closest, surest tool
For forging the kingdom of God

Apples are hard, peel and core, that’s all.
But people are soft and solid with a soul in the middle
They are meant to house the fullness of God.
Bodies are how others know we’re really here
Or He’s really here.
The outline of our spirit,
The edge of our effect on the world.

(Jesus was real before he had a body
But it wasn’t until he got one
The word really got out that
He cared. He calmed.
He wept. He walked.
He bled. He died.
He came back to life.

He’s off to a better place now. So I haven’t seen him yet.
But he still has that body.
And we still have ours.
Scars and warts and all.)

God thought up bodies
He must have had a good reason
God has a body--
There’s something to be said for that, too.
I have a body--
Enough said.