“For life is more than meat, the body is more than raiment.” Luke 12:23-31
I had a weird day yesterday. They are mostly weird since I gave my life over to Christ. But yesterday was notable. So I’m noting it here.
Yoga Class and a Funeral
I imagine my yoga teacher wonders what I’m doing in her class, besides trying far too hard. I feel only pain as my yoga teacher talks about energy moving through the body.
As I’m going through my awkwardness, a lovely young girl in front of me starts to fascinate, as lovely young girls are in the habit of doing. She stretches her body into poses and accomplishes feats of strength and balance that I thought impossible. She also has an intricate pattern of scars on her shoulder that make me curious.
I started thinking about this old Sage Francis song: Inheirted Scars. I always think of this song when I see girls like this.
How do people deal with the pain life brings? With this girl, I that for years she sliced razor blade through her skin to yoke the mental confusion, the emotional hurt, to something with taste and flavor, tangible, like blood she could see and know…
After yoga class I went to a funeral for a friend of mine. He had been suffering with cancer for years. It has been a honor to watch him fight a battle that was intensely personal and to hold space for him to let him be with the truth of his pain.
He struggled in his body at the end. To the point where it was hard to know what to pray for him. He talked about his thoughts, about wanting to die. He looked upon those thoughts as an enemy: subtle, baffling and powerful. His body was weak, unruly and full of pain, but he didn’t trust the part of himself that yearned to be rid of it. He spent a life of glory, completely disregarding his flesh for a life of the mind. And his mind was pristine, washed with the clarity an engineer, who must make things work, must have. He regretted the neglect of his body at the end though. It suffered hard before he was able to slough it off and be free.
I can’t know and am afraid to inquire if the same pain that caused that girl to cut herself is the same pain that my friend neglected and stuffed until it was manifested as a cancer in his body. Whose’s fault is it that they suffer? That we suffer? Is there this demonic pain body driving us all insane, like Ophrah and Eckart Tolle keep chatting about. It’s enough to start me pulling my hair out. But this is when Jesus saves me.
Jesus and his disciples coming across a boy born blind.
His disciples asked him.
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. (John 9:2-7)
In Bible study the next night, the pastor taught a lesson focused on why people aren’t coming to the church.
“Why are they doing to yoga?” he asked as he made funny pantomined gestures to exaggerate how silly he thought it was.
Well Jesus healed the sick, fed people, preached and taught this good news: that God loved us so much he came down to be with us and has a much better kingdom for us than the one we stay blind to… a kingdom of love with all that we could ever need.
I told the pastor, people will gather where they are healed and fed, then they listen when they are preached and taught the good news of God’s love and have a reference for the experience of God’s love.