much of these emotions are born from approaching the one year anniversary of when i left church as the place of my ministry, when i listened to the voices within and without, and hung on to the love of those who said it was time to move to a new and different thing.
in that year, i have been given the gift of so many who have loved me into a new place and a new self, a self that trusts wherever God is calling me and a self that seeks the good in all things.
but also in that year, i've sought to distance myself from my body--the home of my soul--and i want to reclaim its goodness and strength.
so this is a love letter to the whole self that i'm living into, the self i want to embrace--with love and gratitude and hope for another year.
to my hair, whose strands I sheared off to start anew, strands that change color from blonde to brown to red, like a living mood ring. i miss reaching my hand to my back and holding to your ends, miss the long braid over my shoulder. but i love the curl in the growing layers and the patience you've grown in me as i wait for your full length to return.
to my nose and lips and cheeks, with your scars and bumps hidden by freckles and the wrinkles that have begun to emerge this year, you have been a mark of resistance with your nosering, a mark of hope with your smile, a mark of joy with your laughter. do not be afraid.
to my eyes, rung by these great green glasses, you see what so many others do not and you let the images of others exist in your soul, changed by the beauty and pain of others, the injustice of life and the inexplicable places of grace.
to my brain and head and heart, you three have wrestled this year with possibility and change and hope and grief. you've asked hard questions and looked to the heavens. you seek the hope of the universe with untameable curiosity and optimism. do not let this fire burn out.
to my hands, especially the crooked one which will never again be the same--you give life to creativity, covered in paint or crayon or dirt, holding on to the hands of those who are lonely, feeding those who are hungry, carrying little ones and slapping encouraging high fives. you hold me up in handstands, reminding me to claim joy and new perspective. my right hand, your weakness reminds me to be humble and to ask for help. thank you.
to my breasts and my belly, you have been the places i've neglected, places of trouble and places of hope, you remind me to feed others and to claim my place in this world.
to my legs, these legs that have given me shame when i try to buy pants--you have carried me over hundreds of miles and your strength outpaces the ability of my mind. you carried me to new places, over finish lines and into the ocean. you hold me up and remind me that the arthritis in my hips are just a force to contain.
to my feet--oh feet. thank you. you weird and wonderful collections of bone and sinew and muscle. your toes with their missing nails and cracked paint and words of love: you feet. my feet.
do not be afraid.