Dear Body,

The Letter I want to write:

Dear Body,

I hate you.  First you go and grow some odd-ball tumor that half of the doctors we go to see don’t even know how to spell–while I was pregnant, I might add, which was just down-right frightening.

Then when all of that was buttoned up and taken care of you had to go and herniate a disc causing pain not just in the back but shooting all the way down the leg.  And despite the fact that Dr. Google assured us that 90% of disc herniations resolved themselves within six months, you just had to stick around.  So now we’re facing another surgery unless the last-ditch effort of putting a big old needle in our spine and injecting pain killers and steroids magically does the trick.

I’m 31 years old and feel like I’m twice that.  I’ve got stuff to do.  Heal.  And behave yourself.


The letter I need to write:

Dear Body,

So the Psalms tell me I am fearfully and wonderfully made, that God knows the number of the hairs on my head.  You are mine.

We’ve been through a lot in our 31 years and this last decade has been a doozy.

You’ve birthed three gorgeous girls, supported their pregnancies and brought them all into the world.  When Lainey was born I remember being a little bit proud when one of the residents commented that I had “A very strong uterus.”  You are complex in ways I will never fully realize.  You are sensitive and pick up on changes within and without before I do often.

Toes, you find a lush patch of grass a delicious wonder to behold and you sink down deep when we see one.  I’ve always admired that freckle on my right middle toe too.

Feet, you carry me still.  How many summers did we go barefoot working up callouses walking on the gravel?  Walking has helped to stretch me out these last few months and we ran some happy endorphin-filled miles too once upon a time.  Hopefully we’ll get to do that again soon.

Legs–remember how proud we were when that girl at summer camp complimented your muscle definition? Those days are long over and you hobble and gimp from sciatica at the moment, but you still propel me forward in water like a knife slicing through butter.

Hips and butt–I’m supposed to hate you.  Before I had babies even I called you ‘birthing hips’ and you’ve certainly served that purpose.  You are round and ample, and babies snuggle in secure on top of you.

Back, oh, back…  You hurt right now.  And you know I wish it wasn’t the case.  In all we’ve been through the last few years I guess one of us was bound to show some wear and tear and I’m sorry it had to be you.  Still, you carry me though it.  This challenge has at last brought us better posture and some good bonding time with the living room floor. Even with that herniation, we carry babies, lift laundry baskets, and oh yeah…  We rocked doing the lion share of the move this summer, even with you not at your best.  If I’m in pain, it’s because you’re trying to tell me something important.  I’m going to venture a guess that it’s that I need to spend some more time on self-care and supporting myself through stress.

Arms and shoulders, you hold the world in your arms when you hold your family.  You are a soft place for the  heads of babes to nuzzle and rest.  You hug tight.  You welcome people close to our heart.

Hands, oh my hands.  You write, and you type.  You bake.  Sometimes you get wild and break out the pastels and play with color.  You create.  Through you the ideas and feelings and thoughts that bang around in my brain all day long find their release.  You really are beautiful hands.

There at the pulse in my neck is where the tumor lurked, but the artery it housed itself on never faltered. During the surgery it stayed intact so that my life could stay intact.  Those fragile nerves were stretched but bounced back.  We don’t think about it much but even a neck is a wondrous thing.

Brain you think and think and think never turning off, always analyzing.  And you feel…  Oh how you feel–so much deeper than you want to let on even to me.  You work overtime…  I say you are screwy a lot.  You are.  But you are also unique and intricate.  You hold memories most precious…  a snowy morning, and two spring ones when babes were born… the way Andrew’s eyes looked when he first fell in love with me…  Daddy ice-skating, baking with Mama. You are a treasure trove of who I am and where I came from.

And face…  You meet the world placid in the face of some really scary stuff.  You empathize before the rest of the body completely knows why.  Husband says you are lovely and the babes recognize it as home.

Body, we’re going through some tough things right now. We’ve been through some before, and there’ll be more.  But, we have to be allies.  I want to care for you rather than curse you. I want to see the wonders you house instead of the pain you harbor.  I want to listen to what you tell me.  You’ve been quick to alert me of things that I haven’t always picked up on so quickly.  If God’s word says I am fearfully and wonderfully made I have to believe it.  Let me take care of you until we’re both feeling better.




2 thoughts on “Dear Body,

  1. Oh, Val,
    I do love how you express yourself here…the two letters to your body was brilliant! I may have to steal your idea one of these days, but of course, giving you the credit…I was wondering how your herniated disc/back was doing so you answered that one…sounds like you need surgery? keep me posted so I can pray for you…you are wise to listen to your body…I have not, in the past, and learned the hard way, and am actually still paying the cost of it in one area, so now I listen, and respond…

    I know I’ve told you before, but you are amazing! Pray that you are all enjoying your new place.


  2. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen one of your blogs. . .sorry to hear your back continues to give you fits! You write so beautifully and profoundly, we all need to be reminded of the two ways we can respond to all the events and issues in our life. Although it’s not easy to always take the high road the way God expects us to, it’s the way we must strive and pray to respond.

    Hope you’re getting settled and can look forward to a fun Whidbey Island Fall, inspire of your back pain. I’ll be praying for some relief! Love D.

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