So, my body, it dawned on me today that you and I have been together now for 37 years….more if you count growing time in the womb. Yes, we sure have seen a lot, been so many places and we’ve done quite a few amazing things. And you’ve been there, for each and every moment- the high and lofty pinnacles but also the dark ugly trenches of our life. They say when you are young, you think you are invincible, and you do things to your body that you will feel (and regret) in your later years. And I have been sitting here today, just thinking, that there were definitely times, I did not treat you very well. And there were times I took you for granted. Seems to me I have much to be sorry about (including all those years in the ring in karate, although that WAS fun, and I gave as good as I got!).

So dear body, here are just a few things I would like to apologize for, over these last 37 years….

1. Those 70+ hour work weeks.  I drove you hard, and pushed you beyond what you were designed to do. You were screaming for mercy, and I gave you none. I put everyone’s needs ahead of yours. When I counseled others at work, I told them to take better care of themselves, and told them not to be so hard on themselves. But I did not extend that mercy to you. I did not want to let anyone down so I “did it all”- all the events at the kids’ school, sports, 70+ hours of work, date nights with the husband and much more. But when I thought I “got away with it”, I was really writing checks that my body couldn’t cash. And I thought you would just “take it”. Perhaps I thought that could just go on and on.

2. Ignoring your cries for help. frequent colds, flus, infections, ulcers, fatigue, migraines etc etc etc. You did everything you could to get my attention, to warn me, to get me to listen, to get me to change.  And I would only lash you harder. And that reminds me of…..

When I was seventeen years old, driving to work one day, my trusty old Pontiac Grand Am began to act VERY strangely. Although I kept pressing the gas pedal further and further down, the car was slowing down.  Finally I had the pedal all the way to the floor, but the car slowly ground to a halt. I was aggravated that my car would let me down like that.  I was so sure it was the transmission that I told the mechanic not to bother doing too much to fix it.  He graciously told me that he would look at it for me for free, just to confirm that the car was really toast before I sent it off for scrap. A few moments later, the mechanic came back out to the lobby and grabbed a quart of oil, then went back to my car. A minute later he came back and got ANOTHER quart of oil.  This he repeated 2 more times. The last time he came back to the lobby, he glared at me. “Young lady, that will be 17.45 for the oil.  I have never in my life ever seen a car that bone dry. It is literally a miracle that you didn’t destroy this car. Wasn’t the oil light on for awhile now? The engine heat signal? Didn’t you smell smoke?”  Still in shock I stammered, “Well, yeah, but I thought it was like the check engine light that comes on and just stays on.  And Dad said he checked the oil last year.”  The man was horrified and disgusted (and rightly so) “Last year??? Honey, this car was screaming at you for help for some time and you ignored all the signals. Cars MUST have regular maintenance, including oil changes.  Start listening to the signals, or you’ll do permanent damage to your car- or lose the car.”  I realized in that moment, the car hadn’t let me down; I let the car down- I didn’t respond to the signals.

Body, many times when I got so mad at you for getting sick at the worst times, or being exhausted on a big work week- it really wasn’t that you let me down.  I had let you down. I didn’t respond to the signals. You did not have what you needed to keep operating. Sometimes you were “bone dry” and I still slammed the pedal to the floor and yelled at you in exasperation while you finally ground to a halt.  Years later I got a new car (and was VERY careful to get those oil changes and maintenance)- but I CANNOT go buy another you….you are the only body I have-the only one.

3. Underestimating your worth- oh the amazing things you do! No technology on earth can compare to this remarkable creation, the human body. Only days old in the womb, my heart started beating, and it has never stopped since. Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week without ever getting a break or a day off. So many automatic processes that I do not consciously control- hair and nails grow, food is digested, images I see are interpreted, I taste wonderful things. I have lost count of the germs and illnesses you have fought off; I am filled with wonder at how you build up so many immunities! And on top of that, wonder of wonders, you, my body, teamed up with God and made two brand new human beings- two beautiful babies that grew inside me, and delivered with shockingly little input from me. The autopilot there was amazing. It felt like having a car for 25 years and suddenly finding out it had a hidden hovercraft feature! And then after my children were born- NOTHING was in the right place! I would have SWORN my body was ruined forever.  And I was so wrong- you pulled yourself back together and strong again in such relatively short time….no machine on earth could ever do that!

So dear body….what I wanted to say, is that I am sorry that I drove you so hard all these years, and thank you for continuing to serve me well.  And I want to do and see so many more great things together for many years to come. So in this new year, I want to do a better job at treating you right. Giving you the rest, nutrition, exercise and laughter you need. Being a little more forgiving of those stretch marks and tired days. Most people’s new year’s resolution is to drive their body harder- but I like how much healthier I have been lately.  I would rather give you what you NEED and trust your design. This is the start of a GREAT year to come…..  “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Ps 139:14, “You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” Song of Songs 4:7