I have had a busy few weeks. Two weeks of back to back travel, followed by some time away from work and home for personal reasons, and added in there was Memorial Day weekend. Life has thrown a lot at me lately – a lot of fodder for those still moments in life that seem to grow fewer and fewer. I like coming here, each Wednesday, to think. That is basically what this blog is – it is setting aside time and holding myself accountable to think about more than what’s for dinner and when is the next deadline. It’s my time to be fully human.

Here are three unrelated things that have been on my mind…

Safe:

Over the Memorial Day weekend Grace and I were saying her bedtime prayers, and I prayed for the safety of all of our soldiers. I hadn’t given it a lot of thought – it was something on my mind and it came naturally – but the response was one of those defining moments. Grace listened and added in her prayers and after the ‘amen’ she asked me, “What are soldiers?” I cocked my head to the side like a puppy and thought, really hard and kinda panicky. “Well,” I said, “they are the policemen for our country and they keep us all safe.” Whew I thought, good save. Simple, age appropriate, high fi… “What is safe?” she asked. And my heart dropped into my stomach and I couldn’t breathe…

In a matter of miliseconds I realized that in order to define safe, one needs to understand what is not safe. In that brief moment I experienced a profound gratitude. Profound. My daughter has no experiences to draw from – how thankful was I that there was no way to explain ‘safe’ to my daughter for she had no reference of it’s opposite. I had recently read a book set in the slums of India and I saw those children – living in the slums with danger in the forms of hunger, rats, cold, disease. I can define humbling – but I had never been quite so humbled as I sat and realized how incredibly ‘safe’ my daughter is.

“Being safe is like being happy, honey.” That’s what I told her. She smiled because she understood. My girl, she knows happy.

What is Family:

I spent some time with a family recently that really just blew me away. You see, this is not your traditionally ‘built’ family – these folks are a family because they chose to be a family. There is a lot of uncertainty in their situation and sometimes uncertainty can tear relationships apart. Sometimes though, sometimes, you get to see a couple who God brought together, face adversity and uncertainty, and it is a thing of wonder.

These two parents are one – they are a single, loving, living organism. They love one another, they support one another and they love this little one that they picked out especially to be a part of their family. What they have done is incredibly selfless and loving, but if you say that they respond with, “What else would anyone do?”

And that got me to thinking, “What else would anyone do?” Most would do the same thing, the right thing, right? Most would step in and try to be there for a child, wouldn’t they? I would argue that not everyone would do the same thing, but many would. I will concede, many would. I guess it is the way they do it, because when you see them together, it is heroic. Their love IS heroic.

What is heroic, is the fullness of the love in spite of uncertainty. The fullness and totality of the commitment in spite of uncertaintity. What is heroic, is the fact that they have made a family out of sheer will, love, and desire. There is no sense of obligation, no resentment. There is just an overwhelming gratitude for the blessing of what they are to one another.

Families can choose to exist where there was no family. Love and commitment can create a family as surely as biology. Of course it can, I’ve witnessed it. Love can do anything.

The body as a temple:

I got a massage this afternoon and it was the first time that it really became an act of worship for me. I think any other time I’ve been self conscious about my body, or felt self indulgent. Today I just really felt good about it. It was a gift for my 40th birthday so that alleviated any financial guilt. I have had a really busy few weeks and had spend a lot of time focused outwardly so I was ok with a little ‘me’ time. It actually started with an hour long facial (a first) and then an hour long massage. So for two hours I was tended to. In the beginning my inner critic did rise up and remind me what an indecent indulgence this would be to some people. I told her to hush.

Then I started praying for the woman doing the tending. She uses all organic products, sources locally, and makes many of the scrubs and cleansers that she used – it was obvious that this occupation was one she took seriously. What a blessing, I thought, to bring such luxury to people and to do it with such care. My skin has never, to my memory, felt as soft as it did when she was done with the facial.

By the time the massage began, I was reciting the Lord’s Prayer as a kind of mantra in my mind and then the thought came to me: My body is a temple. I realized that I was simply appreciating, and caring for, what was a temporary gift to me. As long as my time is spent focused on the outside more than it is focused on the inside – it is ok to focus on the inside on occasion. It is not only ok, it is required. A temple needs tending.

As the massage went along I thanked God for the legs and feet that carry me to my friends and chase my children, and exercise each day. I thanked Him for my arms that hug my husband and cradle my children, and reach out to hold the hand of my friends when they are in need. I thanked him for a strong back that allows me to work and play and live with joy. I thanked him for healthy skin and strong bones and a healthy heart.

Our bodies are a temple and I forget that. Today was a good reminder that my body had seen me through a lot these last few weeks and it was more than ok to say: Thank you body, well done.

Now – go book you a massage.

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