Thursday, 26 April 2018

By His Design

How to begin a sermon? Particularly one when you're no longer in constant discomfort or experiencing infrequent pain, and yet still wish to sermonise on the body as a temple? On how to not abandon it in or to its own shortcomings, because those defeats, if they're not with or felt by you yet, will come believe me. It's a fallacy of youth not to have them. Ever. But then some youth too seem to have a head start these days. Who can say what causes a body to break down in its infancy? That's not for me to surmise. I'm not sure that opining at all on appreciating it whilst you have it is for me either, but that was the original plan and so I will. Because you see, the middle parts of this lecture (if that's what this can be called) had already written themselves and all that it lacked was a suitable opening and ending. This is not what I call fitting, but there you have it, and as I haven't written the ending yet I can't tell you whether with that I'll be more satisfied.
Lord, (not to take his name in vain) what a detour! What discourse ever started with such dilly-dallying? This is what comes of a 'you seek him here, you seek him there' mind, of someone whose thoughts run amok and won't stay in their catalogued areas.
But I say to the Youth, as if I were standing before them at a rally (or the festival called Glastonbury), and by Youth I mean people in their teens to mid-late twenties (Young Voters): 'Don't take the body you've been generously given for granted. Appreciate it when it's good, when everything's oiled and in good working order, when nothing creaks and makes you (sometimes painfully) aware of its (lessening) function. When its tiredness, accumulating through the years, remains hidden, and long before soft flesh, in various spots, is embedded by splinters and produces sharp or nagging pains which there's no logical explanation for (unless it's a husk of porridge wedged in-between a tooth and the gum which is a reminder everything recedes). Make the most of its stamina prior to any hint of age, that of ageing generally or the suggestion that's the reason for its declining function. Because there will come a time when that's all a doctor will apprise, so that your hope that it's something else, that something can be done crumbles. Hope is deferred as it becomes clear these aches are here to stay. Though if they're manageable they'll be forgotten and life will be got on with.'
This is no public speech or rallying cry; this is a pathetic whine, which I'm not sure is wise to continue....I knew if I left too long a gap I wouldn't like what I'd written. There's too many brackets for starters which are impossible to convey as intended when speaking or can easily be made a hash of. So now I no longer have a middle section I'm entirely happy about, though physically the middle I've been blessed with is still flat and I'm happy about that. That's one benefit from not having children along with relatively strong pelvic floor muscles, although apparently not being Mum makes me less of an adult and selfish to boot. A motoring journalist went further and said you're not an adult if you don't drive, which I thought was a cheek (more than a bit of) because then you'd also have to include all sorts of clean living habits, which then argues the case for vegetarianism too since it's often considered a teenage occupation i.e. a passing phase. However, none of these, either alone or combined, absolve me of adult responsibilities – why? What then does that make me? An ageing unmarried woman with few interests according to the writer Graham Greene, or something along those lines for I don't have a photographic mind and that particular novel was read in a fraction of the time it took him to write.
Trouble is when you're in your youth really appreciating what your mind and body can do doesn't occur. By your late thirties when the cracks begin to appear you'll wish you had. Take it from one who knows. And I'm not someone that, to my mind, has abused my body. There's always a catch-22. A minus, a plus. Something to outweigh the good or bad. An up and an down side. Do I labour the point too much? I do that – employ something to overkill, labour, labour, labour away to bring it home to a sea of anonymous faces who I too am faceless to.
Duty prevails against my body's wishes to live and let live a little.

Picture credit: Good Dog, Paula Rego