This morning I rewarded myself for a great work out with a nice, lengthy soak in my gym’s hot tub. It is tucked away nicely in the locker room, so I can change into my bathing suit and head there in one central location. As I sat there in the hot tub listening to the women talk and watching the sweetest elderly ladies walk around unabashedly naked. I felt immediately convicted, I had changed in the bathroom stall, wrapped myself in a towel, and walked to the hot tub. I took the towel off, and inched slowly into the water. I’ve also started laying by the pool with a shirt on, partly because its cold here sometimes. Partly, because I’m ashamed of my body and how its changed since I became a mother five years ago.
As I sat there though, listening to their conversations and missing my grandmother; I felt really convicted to appreciate my body more. One lady had two scars on her breasts, suggesting she’d had a double mastectomy. I imagined the ladies she was chatting with about meeting for coffee surrounded her with love during her battle with cancer. I don’t know her specific story, but I began to imagine the story that all of their bodies told. I began to write the story my body tells.
Most of them had birthed babies in quick procession, I tell myself. They have scars from things like c-sections or their time serving as nurses during World War II. They grew up during the great depression, lacking the proper nutrients in their diets. What would they have to be ashamed of? Their bodies, like mine, have done amazing things. I don’t know their real stories, but imagining their lives helped me gain some incredible perspective.
My body, albeit heavier than I’d like, has given me two beautiful sons. It has worked hard all of its life to be better than the previous day. It stretches to meet the need of my family on a daily basis. It blessed with many years as a competitive cheerleader, an opportunity that allowed me to explore a huge chunk of our country. It is filled with too much coffee, it laughs too loud. It makes a mess with my children, and has the strength to clean it up. It helps me navigate spin class three days a week.
It seems like such a silly thing to find some much needed perspective in a gym hot tub surrounded by naked women. God meets us in mysterious ways, and I’ve been struggling tremendously with appreciating my body. As always, he showed up, he met right after another grueling work out and reminded me that each day my body is jotting a new sentence in my story.