I begin my days with the start of the prayer of Teilhard de Chardin: Above all, trust in the slow work of God. Time is something that moves slowly these days. Time between the next blood draw, the next doctor’s visit, the next thing to change about my daily routine to adapt to new realities. In the Bay summers begin later than in most places. September and October become our days of shorts and dresses in 80+degree hot sun. I let the sun hit me and wish that its rays would burn through the in between days onto new beginnings. If there is one thing that sickness clearly teaches you, it’s about all the things that just don’t matter.
I’ve been focusing on being kind to my body. Moving alongside it and not against her will. We wake up a little later. We go to bed a little earlier. We drink more water. We rest. We massage oils into worn stretches of legs and arms and corners too often forgotten. We say no, and we mean it. We never regret forming that word. We are grateful for the weddings we made it to in September, the time with family and friends, and long drives across vast plains. We tell ourselves it’s okay if it hurts. It’s okay to acknowledge pain. It’s okay to say we’re tired. I trust in the slow work of God, and I wrote love notes on the hardest days.
A month or two ago a friend came by with a care package. We sat on the roof of my apartment building and talked about the silent ways women endure pain over years, and what we can change each generation. As we took part in the communion she had brought for me, we ate the bread and talked about brokenness and bodies, and we drank the wine and reflected on blood that never seems to stop flowing. We prayed that in suffering we’d find stillness and relief. I don’t revel in suffering. But I do believe in portals the way Arundhati Roy describes the way we must come out from this pandemic. A break with the past. New beginnings.
As I grow more comfortable with the slow pace of these days, I give thanks each day for the work and love of my body:
a love note to my body
a love note to my body:
first of all,
I want to say
for the heart you kept beating
even when it was broken
for every answer you gave me in my gut
for loving me back
I didn’t know how to love you
for every time you recovered when I pushed you past your limits
for waking up.