Flesh and Bone

I have stayed away from Facebook for a few days, even deleting the app from my phone, because reasons. And you know, it’s been nice. I never thought I would say this, but I am saying it: “I DO NOT MISS IT.”

I’m keeping it cozy with Instagram, where things are mainly happy and kind, lovingly filtered and easy to process. Also Twitter, which is the opposite of Insta, but which I love just the same for the hilarity of random tweets penned by Millenials, for no other purpose than to be hilarious.

I’m sure I’m not finished with the Facebook forever, but I needed to leave it alone for awhile, and I didn’t even realize it. Does this count as a cleanse? Because if so, how very healthy am I? *ate Reece’s Pieces while drinking a soda a short while ago*

Anyway, without fb and with a total absence of FOMO (fear of missing out, yo), I am here, thinking about bodies and aging and appearance. Perhaps I’m thinking about this because I can’t get away with essentially living as I please and expecting my body to just fall in line anymore. Also, our parents are dealing with the effects of aging. And I’m looking at Henry who is in NINTH GRADE. I remember ninth grade vividly, and time is warped.

I keep thinking that the way we look is such a big part of human identity, but it’s always changing. I started as a fat baby, called “the bowling ball” and also “moo goo gai pan,” by our babysitter, Sharon. I shot up as a young teen and still remain as tall as the average man. My weight vacillated between giving birth to my children. It wasn’t entirely their fault, though. I made choices about chocolate and, at times, onion rings. I own this.

And when I went to the temple this week and watched the senior ladies working there, I thought about how age changes our features dramatically. I have morphed over decades from the bowling ball baby to the awkwardly tall teen to the postpartum dough woman with no core muscles to speak of to…the me I am now, who wears glasses and risks lunch lady arms if she doesn’t use those hand weights I store next to my shoes.

What will I look like when I am stooped and wrinkled and rickety? I looked at the ladies in the temple with their paper-thin skin and their neck wrinkles, and I decided it doesn’t matter. I love those ladies for being there and serving though they probably have throbbing knees or backs or finger joints.

Seeing the core of things is one of the bonuses of being in the temple. The trappings and the appearance do not matter. It’s not about that. It’s bigger than that. It’s spiritual and inward. The body is merely a vehicle. It isn’t how we are judged.

Isn’t it funny that the inner us, the soul is the same no matter what age we are or how we look outwardly? Inside we are still us. Old, frail, thin, knock-kneed, graceful, young, pudgy, graceless, quick, slow, wrinkled, smooth. We remain ourselves.

Inside, Jack is still the Jack he was before he was born, back before the disabilities. He will still be the same Jack after he sheds his earthly coil.

It’s astonishing to me.


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