I’m trying new things this week. I love the possibilities for change that a new year brings. Last year I didn’t have any of those feelings – life was too dark, but this year I’m embracing clean pages, new choices, fresh opportunities.
As a consequence I find myself on the 7th January, a New Year cliche. I’ve joined a fitness centre. There is a pool and a gym and lots of different classes. This week I’ve been trying out as many activities as I can in order to find out what it is I’m really looking for.
I don’t know if you’ve ever come across Nicole Romero ? She writes at 1000 Strands and she is big on bodies. On loving our bodies and loving others with our bodies, and recognising that we are physical beings.
I first met Nicole in an online group last year and her writing and thinking really challenged and freed me. I began to enjoy the fact I can still do handstands and dance and race around on a bike, and I felt less childish and ridiculous for loving those things; but to be honest I haven’t given my body much thought in a while.
This week has been a revelation of pilates and yoga, t’ai chi and gym machines. And in every class so far I have experienced something which I hadn’t anticipated AT ALL. I have been overwhelmed by a sense of peace. It’s felt right. Even when my body has ached and my co-ordination falters, I have felt deep peace.
And I wonder if this also is part of my forgiveness journey? I blamed my body and my physical self for attracting the other to me. I blamed my body for responding to the other. I blamed my smile and my eyes, the way I look in a certain light and the shape of my hands, because those are some of the things about me that he told me made him want me.
And then this week I read about the woman who poured perfume on Jesus’s feet and wiped his feet with her tears. Jesus didn’t mind. He actually praised her to his hosts, for letting her body touch his body. Her body which had been used by many men. Her body which may have been beautiful or may not. Her body which had been loved little and abused much.
Jesus doesn’t just love my mind or my feelings or my emotions. He loves my body too.
And when I watched in the studio mirror and saw my body move with strength and with grace I loved it too for a moment.
I am making peace with my body in a new way. And I love how God can use even my cliched new year’s fitness resolution for his purposes.
The ground has to be turned over before something new is planted. The soil needs to be prepared. The weeds need to be dug out. Perhaps before I can become truly rooted there is digging out to happen. That’s why I’m writing about these ( for me) uncomfortable truths. Because if I am to believe that my body is also forgiven and loved then I need to stop being ashamed of it. And If I write about it here then it is not being hidden away.
I think you’ve just read a little bit of redemption.