This is My Body

Let me tell you about my week. On Monday, I was trapped inside the house because of the Noah-like floods engulfing the region. On Tuesday, my husband started a new job in a location he has always loved. Unfortunately the job is located in a neighboring state, three hours from home. So he sleeps in a second-rate motel, while I’m three hours away with a 12 week old, hoping the realtor calls with a bid on our condo and, in this market, that’s like hoping the Boston Bruins will win the Stanley Cup…anytime in the next 30 years. On Wednesday, well, I really don’t remember Wednesday because my precious 12 week old decided to give up her long nights of sleep for much shorter nights of sleep. You would think that nine months of pregnancy, a natural birth, interrupted sleep, and other unmentionables would make the kid a bit more grateful. (If the ubiquitous “THEY” told you everything that could possibly happen to your body during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum, human reproduction would end. Seriously.) 

Being a new Mother at the age of 39 means I make all kinds of mistakes; not big ones like leaving the wee one in the Matrix while I’m inside Starbucks ordering a grande, soy hot chocolate, no-whip. I mean little mistakes that culminated on Thursday. For example, I’m a stay-at-home mother which is a privilege and a full-time job, all in one. (Rather like the Queen of England but without the money or the crown.) This means, my wee one sees me all the time. She WANTS to see me all the time and without the husband to take her for a while… get where this is going? 

On Thursday, I’m pooped, there’s no other word for it. (Besides “pooped” is a word I’ve been using a lot since the baby was born.) It’s 5 a.m. and I’m nursing a wide awake baby. It’s still early for the neighbors to leave for work, allowing me a chance to think in silence. I had nearly forgotten that its Holy Week, a time for Christians to reflect on the centrality of their self-designated label. Holy Thursday, the beginning of the Triduum, celebrates Christ’s institution of the Eucharist; the giving of Himself in the bread and wine, to be followed on Good Friday with his bodily sacrifice. 

Andrea Solario, Madonna with the Green Cushions (Maria Lactan), 1st quarter of 16th century, Oil on Wood, Musée du Louvre, Paris.

All these thoughts tumble through my head as I’m looking down on the new life which looks to me for all her needs. She needs a roof over her head, clothes on her back, a soft kiss on her cheek and food from my breast. Then two worlds collide: “Take and Eat. This is my body which is given up for you.” At this, all the crap from the week falls away and I truly enter into the meaning of Holy Week and the sacrificial meaning of motherhood. 

But a grande, soy hot chocolate, no-whip would be welcome right now.

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2 responses to “This is My Body

  1. Every time I read the link to this page, I see “Reluctant Protestant.” Then I get here, and it says “Recovering Protestant.” What kind of Protestant were you? I’ve always been Protestant, and modestly proud of it. Of course I can find doctrinal issues with almost any Protestant faith, as I can with the Roman church, and I can find some good in most of them. I know there is an absolute truth which does not depend upon my preference — but I also know it is foolish for mere mortals to try to pin it down into neat little doctrines. Doctrine is fallible mortal humans’ pathetic attempt to fit God into a box the human mind can comprehend. There is no such box. Therefore, if we take ourselves too seriously, we kill over we know not what.

    I have a cousin who married a Roman Catholic, and converted. Her mother, still Protestant, says my cousin is a better Catholic than her husband. He got a job coaching basketball at Ole Miss. The first day on the job, another coach said “We’ll be glad to see you at the Baptist Church this Sunday. He said “I’m Catholic,” and the other coach looked at him like, if I knew that sooner, you wouldn’t have gotten this job. Last I knew, he’s still there.

    • What kind of Protestant was I? My parents did not attend church but dropped off my two brothers and myself to the local nondenominational (i.e. essentially Baptist) Evangelical church for Sunday school and then picked us up an hour later. At 16 we could choose to continue or stop. I was the only one who wanted to keep going. I “accepted Jesus into my heart” on a bus after a fire and brimstone rally in Agawam, MA. (“If you were to DIE tonight, where would you be heading.” That’s heady stuff for a 12 year old.) I attended Gordon College, an evangelical Christian college and attended a few evangelical churches in my 20s. By the time I hit my 30s the whole evangelical scene was growing shallow. I wasn’t losing my faith, but I was looking for something meatier and deeper. I suppose I found that in the Catholic Church, despite the scandals but there were scandals at some of the protestant churches I attended. That happens when humans are involved: light and dark comingle.

      I can appreciate the coach story. When I entered the Catholic Church, some of my evangelical friends were worried about my salvation. 😉

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