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« Ah, Sydney! | Main | Motherhood statement »

Extraordinary machine

Beguiling songstress Regina Spektor put it well:

I’ve got a perfect body

But sometimes I forget

I’ve got a perfect body

‘Cause my eyelashes catch my sweat, yes they do, yes they do

I always thought it was eyebrows that were designed to keep perspiration out of our peepers, but physiology aside, she makes her point, which is that our bodies are complex and wondrous miracles.

The author of Psalm 139 had the same idea:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well

Sometimes I like to sit or lie silently and think my way through my body, feeling my toes and my calves and all the way up to the top of my scalp, tingling and prickling and expanding up to the vast forgiving sky. ‘I have no pain at all today,’ I like to think. ‘And I had a drink of cool water just now and it is inching its way down my oesophagus and into my system and that clean good gift is filling me and plumping out my grateful cells.’

How wonderful are thy works oh God! We have mouths that take in all manner of sustaining and tasty food that breaks down inside us, the good, helpful bits somehow melding with our bodies in a way that builds us up, keeps us healthy and strong and enduring, and whatever can’t be used is neatly expelled at the other end, with no fuss.

My sturdy bones keep me upright and moving and protect my vital organs; my muscles are strong enough to carry me many miles each day and do all the lifting and scrubbing and sweeping and walking the dog that I need to, and my skin protects me from infection. My womb grew four children and my breasts fed them through infancy. My hands can cook, caress and hold a pen and my brain, my brain in the most extraordinary thing of all – remembering and musing and creating and solving problems and changing the way I react to life’s challenges if the way I learnt already is no longer serving me so well.

And all this, this frenetic, incredible activity that is going on is silent, performing all its wondrous acts without so much as a creak or groan, well, most of the time anyway. As another songstress, Fiona Apple put it, I’m an extraordinary machine.

This is what I need to remember when I am wistfully contemplating my aching joints, sagging chin and patchy memory, when I bemoan the fact that I can’t walk as far or as fast as I did when I was younger. The frailest, oldest, sickest human body is a miracle of complex systems that keep us alive, healthy, functioning, thriving.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works [even me!] are wonderful,
I know that full well

Thanks be to the creator God.

This was published in the July issue of The Melbourne Anglican

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Reader Comments (1)

'Must remember this when I can't ride my bike or dig in the garden or pick up a grandchild because of a slightly sore back or when, like ths morning, I faint during a blood test. Take care.

July 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVin

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