Thursday, August 4, 2016

God's Gift

I remember before I started becoming as physically active as I am.  I recall how I and others looked at body builders and fitness models.  I know many people look at them with distaste because, after all, they walk with a confidence that borders on conceit.  There are more important things in life, after all, than being a chiseled supermodel whose beauty is only skin deep.  Books, doing good, helping others, passionate prayer, sacrificing self and cultivating mental creativity seemed much more important and these were the things that filled my life entirely. 

But then I learned some secrets.  I didn't mean to - God seemed to force this understanding on my unwilling heart.  He blessed me with a great deal of tension and stress and gave me only one way to curb the pain.  I had no choice but to become a fully devoted gym rat.  More than that, I found myself facing agonizing stress and the only idea I could consider to render me strength enough to breathe proved to pump more and more good things into my body and throw out the bad.  Salmon, hummus, Greek yogurt, dark green veggies, collagen tablets, fish oil, biotin, plenty of water - these have become staples to me.  And it wasn't necessarily about being vain. 

As I suffered through intense but wonderful power yoga classes, my teacher, Jeff, explained much about the spirit/body connection.  He taught me to use my body to cleanse my spirit.  As I continued to learn, I realized meekly that I had missed one of God's greatest blessings.

We were sent to this earth for many reasons, not least of which proves to gain a mortal body and learn to become master over it.  It is the body that allows us to do many wonderful, uplifting things.  It is through the body that we can create children and thus families.  The body, therefore, proves far more important than I had ever considered.  Here was this marvelous gift that God had kindly offered me quite freely, and I had been arrogant enough to believe myself above gratitude for it. 

There are many in this world who find themselves with severe physical handicaps.  I honor them and their extraordinary spirits beyond measure, for I believe God gives some of His greatest spirit children these tremendous trials.  They will spend their lives learning about the human body in ways I likely will never be able to comprehend in this life.  I look forward to learning as much as I can from them with humility and thankfulness. 

Those of us without severe disability, however, have little excuse.  Let us open our eyes a little wider, let us recognize the blessings around us, and let us thank our Maker for this marvelous gift He has given to each and every person born on this earth.  Our gratitude to Him will inspire us to take care of this sacred trust, to keep it fit and healthy, to bow humbly to His will should He decide to cripple or maim it, and learn to appreciate it in all its glorious aspects. 

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