Sunday, May 10, 2009

Embodied

I spent yesterday afternoon with one of my favorite people in the world. I've always been completely amazed at her natural, God-given gift to minister with presence. She is one of those embodied individuals who fits well in her own skin and as a result, when I'm with her, my skin fits better too.

My friend's mother is in the advanced stages of a debilitating illness. She cares for her mother by bathing her, feeding her, and creating opportunities to laugh with her. We talked about the power of caring for the body. We talked about the power of touch. She said her mother doesn't know her anymore and she prays that maybe, on some level, her mother recognizes her touch. "Her hand around mine is the most familiar grasp I know," she said. "The next time you are with your mother, grab her hand and close your eyes. You could recognize her touch even without sight." Her words made me cry.

Our bodies are more than vessels. Our bodies are ourselves and when a disease takes our ability to remember or communicate, we still have the need to know and to be known by someone. "We cannot be human alone."

Body Theology is beyond what I ever imagined when Dr. Noble first suggested I couple the area of study with maternal health. I have become as passionate about the health of an individual's body theology as I have the health of a pregnant woman and her safe delivery. This realization of the importance of our bodies and the bodies of those around us, affects the way I look at strangers on the street. It affects the way I relate to those I love. It affects the way I think of my own body.

Conversations like the one I had yesterday move me spiritually. It is an honor to care for one who is sick. It is an honor to feed friends a meal that will nourish their bodies. It is an honor to grasp the hands of our mothers.

I know my friend is a wonderful caregiver. On this Mother's Day, I celebrate my friend and her mother whose grasp she knows well. May she take time to care for her own body in the midst of a holy act fraught with love and frustration.
Suzanah

This post appeared first on The Days Were Accomplished.

1 Comments:

Blogger Jessy said...

Suz,

I think you're words are powerful. They come straight from the heart and mouth of experience.

I never thought of body theology encompassing more than just the physical, but it makes sense -- especially as one looks at the holistic health of individuals and communities.

It really does start with touch and allowing another the recognition of human love...even when they don't seem to get it from anywhere else or from those who once gave it to us so well.

May you, your friend and her mother be dearly blessed for the lessons you can teach us all.

5:44 AM  

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