Posted by: Maryann McCullough | July 2, 2013

Story for July 2013

THE BODY IMPERFECT

 

I have always looked forward to heaven; the fact that I would have to die first has never been an issue.  Whether faith or arrogance assured me of  heaven being my final destination, I’m not sure. It just seemed, like college, or being a teacher to be part of my life’s agenda.

My rationale for “ moving on” has changed over the years. As a five year old child, it was the prospect of swings, high-soaring swings that never required you to wait in line. Later, as the oldest of ten children, the knowledge that I wouldn’t have to work so hard in heaven and there would be relative quiet interrupted only by some gentle melodies was very appealing. And later there was God and I had so many, so very many questions that I was dying to ask him. I figured heaven would give me the opportunity to do that.

Now, at seventy, I have a whole new reason. It’s my burdensome body. I am tired of having to work so hard to keep the inside functioning and the outside presentable.

These days, my day-timer has more medically-related entries than parties. I wish I could just fax my body in to the various specialists (whose goal, incidentally, is to postpone that heavenly encounter I am anticipating).  And it’s not just the appointments. Dr. L wants me to check the bottom of my feet each night. Dr. S wants my blood pressure checked weekly. Dr. B wants monthly labs. Then, of course, there are the pills. My husband and I have matching pill minders – clear little plastic boxes with compartments denoted by S, M, T,… The boxes require filling. The pills require swallowing. Every day. the whole insulin protocol. Fill, prime, and insert the pump. Count the carbs. Check the blood sugar four times a day.

Then there is the outside of the body. While looking really good is a stretch, looking “better” is still doable. But it takes so much more time and requires so much more stuff than it used to. I remember (yes, it was a long time ago) taking a shower, combing my semi-damp hair, putting on mascara, and smiling at that face as I walked out the door. Today the palette for that face contains nine items and three more are required to boost the roots, mousse the locks and lock in the final result. Since my head is disproportionately small, I have to whip air into my hair or I look like a pinhead.

 From what I have understand about heaven, there will be either no physical bodies or if we have them, they will be perfect; no illness, no bubble butts or thunder thighs, no eyeglasses to misplace because…no eyeglasses! Our knees will bend easily and with worship  a dominant agenda item, this will be helpful.)

As I look around my office, the photos and memorabilia  remind me that my body has been good to me and I sincerely ask its forgiveness for my willingness to abandon our relationship. 

Without it, there would have been no Michael, no Casey, and no Colin. I would not have been able to stand in front of a classroom and share my enthusiasm for mathematics with students I cared about. I would never have tasted chocolate or smelled the ocean or seen a western sunset. And though I clearly see my body’s imperfections, the man I love continues to appreciate it and that is a good thing.

As sometimes happens when I write, when I talk (on paper) to myself, a new perspective emerges. I am thinking I need to move gratitude into the mix. Fewer sighs and more smiles for this body imperfect.

It has been a relationship of long standing. Like a  faithful dog, it has taken care of me for a very long time. It seems it’s now time for a role reversal. Isn’t that the way most relationships evolve?  Mother buttons the child’s coat and holds her hand as they cross the street. Many decades later,  that child is buttoning her mother’s coat and helping her to safely cross the street.

Wiser today than yesterday, I resolve that with whatever remains of my allotment of days, I will be a more appreciative owner, a more thoughtful caretaker of  my inside and my outside self.

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Responses

  1. Really great, Mom! Scary how I’m starting to relate to these issues.

  2. You are beautiful inside and out 🙂

  3. A wonderfully balanced view of aging. I’m nodding in agreement as I read this.Thanks.

  4. Oh, we must be sisters. You just say better! thanks!

  5. beautiful story Minnie!


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