Monday, August 31, 2009

Mirror, Mirror

My poor old body. Tonight I had the rare opportunity to take a bath. Yesterday while rushing around like an exhausted zombie I tried to impale my thigh on our front gate. Seriously, I first felt the shock of hitting it and then in my confused state I kept going forward into the protruding metal bars. I don’t know, maybe I was hoping if I hit again I might win the second time. But I definitely lost. Then hurrying to clean the wound and get into bed I taped on an inferior cloth bandage and called it good enough. This evening it was predictably “glued” to the gash necessitating a long soak and proving that while haste makes waste, haste + exhaustion makes pain.

Painful origins of the bath aside, I really enjoyed the soak and lived it up with a bit of Epsom salt poured in. It’d been quite a day, quite a week, quite a month, quite a year. So much has happened. So much of it good. So much of it just-what-happens-to-people-when-they’re-alive. But I digress (and when don’t I), to concentrate on today, when I stepped out of the bath and looked in the mirror I was shocked. Who was that mess of a woman and how come she was taking up my reflection?

Then I remembered, oh yes, that’s me. That’s what I look like now. Not that I was expecting to see twenty-something Lisa: effortlessly size six, naturally long blond hair, and blue eyes unhidden by glasses (which I believe is the legal definition of pretty—wish I’d appreciated it more then), but neither did I expect the wreck of a human that wearily chuckled and sighed back at me.

My lovely bruise, glowing purple and red above my knee, was nothing compared to the lines of stretch marks that shone on my legs and torso in rippling waves. Sadly, there is plenty of flesh for those marks to illuminate.
Nor could my bruise compete with that strange crater that my poor belly button has become. My pitiable navel has been living the life of fugitive for the last ten years. It keeps going into hiding, lost at the end of a massive growth, only to resurface, wider and worse for the wear, 9 months later.
And perhaps it is the 45 months of pregnancy that is responsible for my stature, but I just didn’t seem to be as tall as I once was. Is that possible? Or maybe it was just my posture, perhaps I was stooped from the pain and annoyance of that monthly visitor I am entertaining. Which then indicates that I’m no longer nursing and therefore the one-two? things I didn’t mind looking large now just hung there.
And to top it all off, my eye make up, which I hadn’t removed yet, was smudged from the crying I done earlier at a funeral for David’s mentor who was taken too soon by a -hard, early life in the Chinese coal mines and nicotine. Altogether, I looked something like a large, wet raccoon drug in by the dogs.

“Oh yikes,” was all I could think. “Oh yikes, what happened to you Lisa? Who did this? And why?” It was a very depressing moment for me and my reflection, standing there facing the naked truth. Then grace, sweet grace, came and I recalled, through no effort of my own (after all, all my efforts were engaged in suppressing laughter and tears at that lady in the mirror) the Parable of the Talents.

Suddenly I understood that my body was exactly what I wanted it to be, perhaps minus the bruise. And to answer my questions: Life happened. I did this to me. And because I want to live that life to it’s fullest and for the purpose that it was given.

As that long ago twenty-something I thought that the talents in the parable meant abilities like playing the piano, manipulating a soccer ball, or even befriending people. It never struck me to take it farther to the most obvious gift that our Heavenly Father has bestowed. So, with renewed vigor I take on the challenges of this life. I will not bury my body in the gym or hide it in the kitchen. I will strengthen it, feed it right, use it to bless others, and keep it until it is completely worn out and ready to hear the words “well done thou good and faithful servant.”

9 comments:

Whitlatch Family said...

I have always thought of you as one of the most beautiful people I have know. I have forgotten to tell you how much you have taught me about myself. Don't foget your body is beautiful, it has produced 5 beautiful children.

stina said...

That was great, Lisa! I'm pregnant right now and feel like a beast when I look in the mirror. Thanks for the perspective.

Reuben said...

Lovely.

Sarah said...

Love it, thank you! You expressed my feelings much better than I ever could :)

Reuben said...

This post deserves a wider audience. You should submit it as a guest post at feministmormonhouswives.org or segullah.org

Ann said...

Lisa, I totally agree with Ruben. Get this out there where more ladeis will read it. Everyone needs this perspective. I for one am bookmarking this and refering to it in my next RS lesson.

You really are amazing.

The JNJ Hasleton's said...

I love you Lisa. Can I post this on my blog?? Many a moms would love to hear this speech. It would brighten their day!

Lisa said...

Thanks so much for your encouraging words everyone. Truly, I didn't post this looking for sympathy compliments.

But I don't think I could re-post it to a wider audience. I'm way too self conscious. I however don't mind it being talked about from friend to friend; just make sure that the right sources are given, wisdom is from the spirit and everything else from me.

Diana said...

I wish I was that eloquent! You're amazing and have always looked up to you.