I was in a never ending checkout line recently, and in a shopping cart a couple of people ahead of me was a young child, being entertained by his mother. He was having none of it, though, so she lifted him out of the cart and he snuggled into her shoulder with a sigh of contentment. I marveled, not at the beauty of the child (even though he was absolutely delicious), but at how wondrously designed our bodies are. The curve of the mother’s neck was perfectly proportioned to accommodate the baby’s sleepy head, her shoulder nicely rounded to accept his fat little arm, her shoulder blade smooth and flat to feel the tap, tap, tap of the baby’s gentle pats.
The beauty of that moment made me forget the impatience of the checkout, my long list of errands, the pile of work waiting on my desk. I remembered with a smile the long ago days of my daughter’s childhood, the feel of her sweet head curved into my neck, the pat of her fat little hand on my back. And, I remembered with regret that I didn’t truly appreciate the divine design that made those moments possible. Instead, I wished I were ten (or thirty) pounds lighter; that the cushioning that had nurtured her into being would fade away and leave me with a “perfect” body.
Why did it take me a half-century to understand the absolute perfection of the woman’s body? Why have I taken my own amazingly designed body for granted, not appreciated the divine plan of the temple God created in me? This woman’s body, the one sculpted to nurture a baby, then toddler, then child is also designed to respond to her husband’s touch; to feel joy, pain, grief, and desire; to feel powerful; to feel fatigued.
The human body is truly a marvel. It is designed to alert us to impending danger, whether from a bear chasing us, or an illness overtaking us. When did we stop listening? When did we stop marveling? Why is it so easy to spot the flaws and overlook the perfection?
We live in a world that judges beauty by harsh and unrealistic standards. We see images of women that have been altered by technology to the point that they’re often unrecognizable, and we think that’s how we should look. Never mind that the subject of the photo doesn’t even look that way, or that it is usually physically impossible to achieve that look.
We live in a world that’s conditioned us to accept fast food as an acceptable eating plan. A world that’s designed to keep us imprisoned in a chair facing a computer screen or desk for hours on end. One that encourages us to give too much of ourselves to mindless entertainment, zoning out and allowing our minds to deteriorate along with our bodies. One that discourages intimacy and allows relationships to be technology based.
Was it the world that caused all this, though? Wasn’t it our choices and decisions that brought us to this place?
It’s time for a change. It’s time to take back our lives, our health, our bodies, our minds. It’s time to remember that our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made, designed to last us a lifetime.
It’s time to marvel at the beauty of a baby perfectly curved around his mother’s body.