I have a small tattoo on the inside of my left wrist. It is a word, inked in white letters written by the hand of a friend, that reads, “worship.” I chose that word because of a poem crafted by a brilliant artist named Anis Mojgani. The line from the poem says,
Walk through this with me,
into this house of bone and blood.
It is a church,
and every movement we make is worship.
I have had a tough time living into the sentiment of that poem over the years—I have not been kind to my body, though it has forgiven me generously. I have struggled through an eating disorder as well as episodes of self-harm. I believed the lies that my body was too-much-not-enough, and I suffered for it. I resented my body and abused it as an avenue to unhealthily express my emotional pain, to the point where I wanted to get rid of my body and mind altogether. But after several difficult, amazing years in counseling (and a working antidepressant), I have finally rehabilitated my relationship with my body, and with life itself. I have learned to see myself with new eyes—to see this house of bone and blood in which I will live for all of my days as a gift. As a church. As holy ground.
I have gone from hating my body to actually, really, truly loving it. I love it because I get to pet dogs with my hands. I get to smell coffee in the morning. I get to play my private game when I go shopping at the mall where I challenge myself to find the softest item in the store (I always win). I get to sing and dance at live concerts. I get to use my legs to hike around the PNW. I get to look into the eyes of my loved ones. I get to kiss and laugh and nap and sprint and clap and sing and weep and listen and breathe. Inhabiting my body means I am alive. And giving my life as a gift to the living God is what I want to do always.
So, the little letters carved in white ink into my skin remind me that I am alive, and that is my favorite thing to be. It is my life-prayer, my reminder, my intention that every movement I make can be worship of the God who grounds and names me as beloved in every breath. Amen.