Before the mirror, I gaze upon this warped, swollen, scarred flesh of mine. The sight of it fuels the pain I feel, uniting into a combined sensation that knocks me over with overwhelming physical, mental, and emotional fatigue. The shower’s water strikes and I am overcome by the tenderness of my flesh. Sore places cause slow movements, compensating as an attempt to lessen the pain.
In these days following my third c-section, the time I take to clean and care for this body of mine becomes The Time of Reckoning where I face the reality of what is. The act of growing, giving, and sustaining life means wrecking this own life of mine. It is a temporary time but that cannot deny its present power.
If I linger long enough in these moments, the Divine sneaks up on me and saves me. The trembling calms and shifts its shape. I remember the holiness of the Suffering Servant. I remember the mystery that God uses human flesh to birth Hope into this world. I remember the Eucharist truth that body nourishes body.
During these tender days, I am that body. I am that human flesh. I am that suffering servant.
In the light of this truth, The Time of Reckoning clarifies within my sight to be what it truly and finally is – the place where this tired, pained, wrecked body receives its anointing as God’s creative vessel.
I mourn the absence of religious ritual over life’s “non-religious” experiences. I imagine all the mothers through time who have stood in The Time of Reckoning and been unable to see past the pain of their bodies. They are the women who have deserved more than clothes that hide the disfigurement or the promise that one’s body will return one day. They have deserved an anointing of the Body Broken. I imagine the proper liturgy that could speak into being the transformation from trembling pain to trembling awe.
The remembering of truth puts me back together again. I emerge from The Time of Reckoning more whole and more God’s servant than I was when I entered. I am renewed in my Advent waiting for healing.
For the God who comes, anoints, and sends forth Broken Bodies to nourish another, I give thanks.