A Body of Work By Elisa Morgan
A few weeks ago, I helped my brother move. The timing of his move was less-than-ideal since he'd been ill and needed to harness all his energy for healing. Armando and Armando, a father/son team, carried furniture and heavy bins on dollies, but I pretty much moved all the household items by myself over several days. One day my car thermometer registered 124 degrees. What?! I knew the California desert could sizzle in summertime, but this heat in early fall was oppressive. Every single day, the effort felt overwhelming. So much to do! Too much to carry! On the first day, I sat myself down and asked God for help. I sensed his simple response: watch for me. So, I opened my eyes to see. Help came from a neighbor who hung up his cell phone and turned in my direction at the very moment I was leaning a large desk down from my tailgate on to a dolly. "Do you need some help?" Yes! When a closet rod broke, tumbling all the hanging clothes to the closet floor, another neighbor responded to my desperate text, "Do you know a carpenter?" with "Can I take a look?" Yes! Each day, to entertain myself as I schlepped load after load from condo to car - and to distract my thoughts from the sweat trickling down my back and forehead and elsewhere - I focused on my body. And a surprising gift of help grew within me. I became grateful. I started with the sweat. How marvelous that our bodies "air condition" our beings with liquid! Trickling streams of refreshment. A tonic to nudge us onward. My feet, clad in sturdy Nikes, pumped up and down the long walkway, steady and determined, holding me upright as I pushed the heavy-laden trolley. Legs - remember to lift with your legs. At five foot three inches, my legs are not long, but they serve their purpose, knee-bending to position a load, stretching to put it in place, flexing to push the load forward. Arms - make that biceps - reaching and carrying a box and carefully wedging it in an open nook on the car floor, behind the driver's seat. Hands - healing broken finger splinted and protected - wrapping breakables, washing cabinets, wiping forehead, starting the car, driving yet another load to a soon-to-become home. Head - noting the next task, remembering just where the tools for hanging pictures and assembling a bedframe should sit so that they could be gathered for quick use. Assigning homes to cleaning supplies, silverware and towels. Checking off tasks and adding new ones at the end of the day. Worrying away at the ticking of time and then choosing to focus on the peace that comes with prioritization rather than alllll that is out of control. Over those several days of enormous effort, I watched for God and found his help. And I gave thanks for my body of work. My body. It could still work! Oh mercy though, some mornings I could barely get out of bed and back to the grinding work. Everything hurt! An exhaustion bloomed in my chest and spread out like opening petals - but not half so pretty - across my being. And surely, there will be future seasons where feet, legs, arms, hands and head may out right rebel. Or break. Or forget. In my seventies, my energy may ebb. In my eighties, my strength may stoop. In my nineties ... will I even have nineties? I returned home. I rested. I embraced the healing ritual of my familiar routine. Back at my computer, my same body tucked in my desk chair, legs crossed, fingers dancing over the keys, I remember back to God's provision of my body of work. I pause to thank each body part for contributing. Thank you sweat, feet, legs, arms, hands, head. Thank you for your combined effort to tackle a gargantuan task. Thank you for obeying my direction and committing to complete. And thanks God, for creating this body for me to inhabit to walk out my love in this season - and yours - for people who matter oh-so-much to me.
Elisa Morgan is the cohost of the new podcast, God Hears Her. She is also the cohost of Discover the Word and contributor to Our Daily Bread. Her latest book is When We Pray Like Jesus. Her other books include The Beauty of Broken, Hello, Beauty Full, and She Did What She Could. Connect with Elisa @elisa_morgan on Twitter, and @elisamorganauthor on Facebook and Instagram.