To my body,
My lips curve into a nostalgic smile as I reminisce on some of our adventures.
I loved the way that you could run. I loved the way that the sight of open moorland, or a wooded valley, or any glimpse of countryside could lift my feet and bid me run. There was freedom. How many paths we ran together. Mountain trails, muddy tracks, athletics tracks. And then came the thrill of competition, of striving alongside others. The satisfaction which nothing other than running can give. The end of a race when you are spent. The lungs struggle to catch up, every muscle aches, and you know that you have given it everything.
I loved the way you could play. As the spikes turned to boots how you could plant a foot and change direction. The thrill of losing a defender, the execution of a beautiful throw as the disc soars through the air. The sheer joy of chasing after a flying object and when it is just out of reach and the feet are lifted from the ground and just for a moment you are flying, hands outstretched, until contact is made and you crash to the ground with the most treasured possession in your hand. How I felt alive!
The places we could go, the people that we could meet. The sudden death victories, and the sudden death defeats. The medals we won, and the many we did not win! Years well spent.
And along the way I learned something so important about you. Ultimately you are not mine. Truly you are a gift. A gift from the One who made you, a gift from the One who gave you any gifts and talents that you possess. A gift from the One who smiles as He sees you offering up your body to Him in response to all He has done for you. A whole new dimension to our adventures together. Sport becomes sacred. Sport becomes worship. Let’s be the best that we can be.
Oh, but my body, I took it too far. I walked down the wrong road, I got diverted. I pushed you too hard. It was more than you could bear. I started to care more about how you looked than what you could do. Healthy eating to fuel you became unhealthy as I stopped giving you enough, I didn't give you what you needed. I hurt you. But the Giver of life did not let me go. He reminded me that I am more than my looks or my talent or my performance. He showed me that He loves me in spite of all my fears and failures, and that love can never be taken away or run dry.
But now everything has changed.
Oh body, there is so much that you cannot do now. You can’t outrun a defender. You can’t carelessly climb a tree or climb up some rocks. You can’t cycle for unending miles down country lanes or busy city streets. You can’t dive around. You can’t lift heavy weights. You can’t run until you’re spent. You’re barely supposed to get out of breath. And you’re so tired now, so very tired. And I miss it. I look on and see others out there playing, running, catching, diving, and I feel a sense of envy.
Oh body, you look so different now.
The slim, athletic figure I longed for and worked so hard for is a far cry from how you are now. And you are going to get bigger, and bigger, and who knows if you will ever be what you were? Will you ever go back to that?
For long years I could not conceive of conceiving because of what it would mean for my body and my sport. That was too important, that took precedence over pretty much all else.
But, my body, don’t you see that something wonderful is happening to you? The Giver has given a wonderful gift. You are a sanctuary now, you are a fortress. You are the dwelling place of a new life, you are a protector.
Body, you may never be the same again. But that does not mean our adventures together are over. It does not mean sport is over. There will be ways for us to move together once again. But it may well be different. What can we do to bring sport to others? The Giver of gifts will have a plan for you, and it will be more glorious than whatever we come up with. So whatever happens, let’s offer ourselves up as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This is true and proper worship.
Rosie is the student worker at Inspire Saint Jame Clerkenwell. She used to play ultimate frisbee but is currently on a break due to her pregnancy.
You can read Rosie's other blog on Living distinctly in a body obsessed world here.
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