I stood naked in front of the mirror today. You were in full daylight too, which would’ve felt downright garish before, but today it felt like a happy coincidence.
Websters assigns one definition of naked as, “of something such as feelings or behavior, undisguised; blatant.”
We know, don’t we body, that once you throw open the curtains, the light dances right on in and openly dares you to bask in her warmth.
Look, let’s just keep this letter moving along before I start waxing poetic about how my body is my home and the lights are coming back on where there used to be dark corners of shame or some shit like that. Whoops, too late. I already did.
The point is, Body, I stood naked in front of the mirror in the broad light of day and I looked at you.
I really looked at you.
Even typing that sentence, I have to stop and cry.
Because now that I am actually and finally seeing you, I am overwhelmed. You are so lovely and you always were. I’m so sorry for all the time we lost while I was busy rejecting you.
Emily Freeman says to pay attention to our tears because they are tiny messengers sent from God to our souls… or something really beautiful like that. She says, always pay attention to the tears.
So I noticed it, when after I had been absentmindedly tracing my finger along my C section scar my cheeks were suddenly wet. Oh. I see. I’m crying. Okay. We have some unexplored feelings here, don’t we, Body?
Somewhere in the liminal space between the cut and the real wound we are still smarting a little, I think.
The doctors were in such a hurry, the scar there looks more like a Nike swoosh than a straight line, but it’s almost imperceptible now. It’s wild how our bodies plainly tell our most savage stories, and yet the world would never know, they hardly notice… how we hardly notice, ourselves.
Or maybe it’s not a matter of noticing, so much as really seeing.
Being brave enough to turn and look squarely at you.
I see your scars now.
And you see mine.
It’s Easter weekend and I’m thinking a lot about the crucifixion. I’m thinking about it in new and different ways than before, for reasons including but not limited to, the fact that my faith feels both tender and prickly at the moment. Like it’s contracting and expanding at the same time, and well, it hurts a little.
I’m thinking about all the millions of ways that Jesus chose to identify with us, to be intimate with our pain, and I think about how a small part of me felt crucified too, lying there on that delivery table.
And then I wonder if it’s sacrilegious to even think that. I wasn’t crucified, not really. But I was pierced. And I limped for a long while after.
We have come so far together from that place, Body.
We are freer and truer and stronger and more grounded now. So much happier, too, having finally found peace together. We’ve found a lot more than peace, though, haven’t we? Peace is that nice, pleasant, contented brand of happiness, but I’d wager that ours falls more on the Unflagging Joy end of the spectrum.
And that feels SO GOOD, doesn’t it?
We will revel in that, yes we will.
We will celebrate every step of the way on this journey home to each other.
I know, Body, I hate the word “journey” too, okay? I do. But I have no better alternative right now, so we will all just have to deal with it, I guess.
Do you want to know what surprised me the most about what I saw reflected back to me in the mirror? How familiar you were, not for your shape, but rather the way I felt at home in you again.
I’m glad we took a moment to delight in that because for a long time you felt like a stranger, someone I didn’t know anymore and couldn’t trust. I thought you’d betrayed me when really it was the opposite. I abandoned you in so many ways both metaphorical and literal, in the middle of the scariest, most intense moments of our life. I couldn’t hang and I peaced out on you.
I left you there to feel the brunt, to take the hit for us. To STAY and feel it all, when I couldn’t. Or didn’t.
I respect you so much more now.
I’m just going to say, it, I admire you now too. What I’m saying is, you’re hot! Okay, Body?! You’ve got it going on! You make this look good, dude, even with all the wrinkles and weird skin and constellations of freckles. Even with all your soft bits and angles too.
You shine so much brighter when you are properly admired.
I think maybe you were designed to be admired.
I think maybe we all were.
There is something so right, so pure, so sacred in coming home to you.
Justin Beiber was right: (or Jon Bellion, whichever JB you wanna give credit to for that song…) It feels holy. I feel a partnership with God when I’m doing this hard work.
Yes, don’t be fooled; peacemaking is some of the hardest work there is.
It is also the most rewarding.
I was so happy to look in the mirror and to see this version of us, to feel so connected to you again. Or maybe for the first time ever. I am learning all your different languages, but I am slow. Bear with me, please?
I already know you will. You’re always so patient with my slow, stubborn attitude.
Maybe that’s why these letters feel so important to me.
I’m finally seeing all the ways you’ve fought for me, protected me, suffered for me, forgiven me even when I wasn’t sorry… even when I was mean instead. You kept showing up. You sheltered me, comforted me, carried me, emboldened me, awakened me, and celebrated me.
I only want to do the same.
This is the only way I know how to process, with words. Always words. So many words. LOL. Listen, that’s never gonna change. So why shouldn’t some of them be reserved just for you?
Hey Body, I think we should stand naked in front of the mirror more often.