It was 37 degrees Fahrenheit when I set off around 10:25 AM this morning hoping to make it to the 10:45 AM service. The church is only 2.4 miles away from our apartment, so I figured that should be pretty doable.
Little did I know that it was also insanely windy. I ended up biking against the wind. Even on flat ground, I had to give it everything I had to even move forward.
During the ride, I thought about how nice it would be to come home after the return ride. Coming into the warmth from the cold, taking a hot shower, and drinking some hot cocoa. It made me realize that to experience “coming home,” you actually need to leave home. Staying at home all day doesn’t provide you with that “aahhh – I’m home” feeling.
Since I hadn’t been at church for a while, it was a homecoming of sorts as well. I arrived a few minutes late and pretty sweaty. I snuck into the restroom and applied some deodorant and settled down into a pew. I was wearing jeans and old running shoes. It felt good. I’m glad God doesn’t care what I wear.
As the service was getting started, the choir director came up to me and said she had been thinking about me (I haven’t been able to make it to choir due to family responsibilities). Could I sing with the choir for Christmas? Of course. Joy. I miss singing with others.
As I was heading out after the service, somebody in the parking lot called over to me: “It’s pretty cold on there, huh?” “It’s a little chilly,” I responded, “but it makes you feel alive!”
The ride back wasn’t at all as bad since I had the wind behind me. There is a big hill leading up to our neighborhood. I thought I’d attempt to bike it all the way, but I wasn’t able to get my bike into first gear, so I jumped off and walked the last third of the hill. The wind was blowing cold air on my face and my legs were somewhat sore from the previous ride. I felt alive. This is what it’s supposed to feel like. Our bodies were made to work, to be physical. We are not utilizing our bodies properly when we take our car from home to the office, sit behind a desk all day, drive back home, and then sit on the couch. We are abusing our bodies by our inactivity. It became so clear to me just then. The body is supposed to be challenged, sore, and should experience both the good and the bad weather.
I started wondering if perhaps we are going against the will of God when we constantly resort to conveniences and strive always to be perfectly comfortable and, hence, neglect to take care of our bodies. In talking to my Ph.D. husband about this later in the afternoon, I was reminded that Christianity historically views the body as a distraction from freeing the soul to connect with God. Indeed, the earliest monks went out to the desert to get close to God by denying their most basic bodily needs: food, sleep, sex, etc. The body, and especially women’s bodies, have been portrayed in a negative light for 2,000 years. No wonder we have body image issues!
This is totally counter-intuitive to me. I view my body as a temple – my most important asset. I feel it is my responsibility to take care of it to allow it to function optimally. Body, mind, and environment all works together to create a whole, healthy person: diet, exercise, sleep, meditation, spirituality, a sense of purpose, relationships, community, nature. You need all of it.
I returned home cold, refreshed, hungry, and ready for a relaxing day of reading, writing, and hanging out with the family.
This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
Like what you read? Pass on the goodness!