Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Time to Love the Body I'm In

Hello friends,

Just two days ago, on January 10th, I passed a significant anniversary. Twenty years ago, I was in a psychiatric ward. I had a complete nervous breakdown. Not all breakdowns are alike. Some people get so depressed that they withdraw from life. Others sleep for days at a time. Then there are those who simply lose their minds, and they never recover. I was different. Although broken in spirit, and lost in a fog of doubt and anger, I wanted to get well.

I was one of the blessed ones. I had a loving husband and two devoted young daughters. I had every reason to live, and with the help of a wonderful psychiatrist, I was able to move on to recovery, and finally healing. Few psychiatric patients recover as I did, and I know I'm blessed.

Throughout the last twenty years, I've had my ups and downs, but God, and the love of my family, have kept me centered and sane. However, one cannot be on psychotropic drugs, as I was in the past, or prednisone for my asthma, along with medications for other health conditions, without developing weight problems. I take a host of weight promoting drugs (it seems to be the drug companies' favorite side affect), which have made my life more livable, but they also keep me above 150 pounds in a good month, and 170 pounds in a not so good month.

Thankfully, it has been years since I had to take medicine for depression, but, my-my, every other medication just waits to suck the calories from a piece of lettuce and slap me with another five pounds. So my battle with weight is a continuous one. It has not been easy looking back on younger, slimmer days. And, let's face it, I'm over sixty.

The miracle of all of this, is that not a day goes by, without my husband telling me how precious and beautiful I am to him. But what about me? What do I think of my own body? Well, I've had my ups and downs there, too. No, I don't look sixty, but then I don't look thirty, either. My self-esteem, like many people's, has plummeted from time to time. Lately, however, as medications have given me a more normal life, I'm beginning to like myself a lot more, and I am seeing my body in a whole knew light.

Perhaps the horrors of plastic surgery, that we have been seeing dancing across the TV screen, have given me a new outlook. Women my age are allowing themselves to be poked with needles and filled with botulism. Their lips are pumped up like automobile tires. And their foreheads have been lifted so high, they look continuously surprised. Their bodies have been tucked here and there with foreign objects, so that no one looks normal anymore. It's horrifying. And nothing lasts. Inside of two to five years, they no longer look stunning, and now it's time to stretch things out again. Yikes!

So, I've taken a new look at my body, exercising more, but no longer afraid that I no longer look young. And I've decided that looking weird is not an option. I've decided to be thankful for the body I'm in, and I am learning to thank God every day for my imperfect, yet walking, talking, breathing body, which He has given me.

Medical science has given me a new lease on life, and I'm pretty tickled about it. God has controlled discoveries in medicine, so that I am no longer the wheezing, coughing asthmatic. My blood pressure is under control; my cholesterol is looking good; and my heart arrhythmia is doing very well. All this is due to medicines that did not exist twenty or even ten years ago. How can I not be thankful? In fact, if my hips and feet would let me, I just might dance a jig, but I'll settle for a thankful heart.

So, now is the time to love the body I'm in. I get hugs and kisses every day. I have a life that many people long for. How can I not be thankful? My life was over (or so I thought) twenty years ago. But you see, it's not over until God calls us home. We can get well. We don't have to stay where we are. We can change our minds, our thoughts, our health, and through the grace of God and much effort, we can change our lives.

Here I am, Lord, imperfect but willing, loving the body I'm in. Thank you for healing, for new medicines, for love, hugs and puppy kisses. Thank you for laughter, and thank you that there is no one I'd rather laugh at, than myself. Thank you for hope, and new changes, and new ways to send your love, and mine, off to other searching souls, all over the world.

Twenty years ago, I never dreamed how wonderful my life could be. So, hold on to God's hand. Reach out to yourself, and give "you" more time. When you are in the valleys of your life, it's not over. It's just beginning. You are a precious child of God, and you are one of His favorites. God bless and keep you!

With love,
Jaye Lewis

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