Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Episode Nine: Embodiment

I'm not sure why it happens--but there are seasons in my life when my soul is porous, my heart available, and every conversation, every song, every exchange, seeps through my skin and into my bones.

During these seasons, I'm poised to hear poetry and truly take-in its significance (rather than simply nod and pretend I understand it as I usually do). In these open and vulnerable days, I really listen to music--hearing the complexity of the notes, noticing the nuances of the lyrics, feeling its internal reverberations in my cells.

Yes, every once in awhile it feels as though I am literally inhaling life and memories and love into my being.

I'm not sure why these seasons of embodied joy are often fleeting though I imagine stress and (overly glorified) busyness are quick to out-maneuver them most of the time.  But, in the rare moments when I am inhabiting a space of radical receptivity to the world around me, when I am my "best self," it is a time of soaking it all in and storing it all up, a series of moments when I feel as though the goodness and beauty of this life we lead becomes startlingly clear. For a few seconds I am lucky enough to notice, pick some of the beauty up, and take it in as a part of myself.

The past few weeks have been such a season.  

I've stored up the thousands of hugs and life-updates I exchanged with those who make up my denominational home in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at our General Assembly just a few weeks ago. In the long winter months to come, when isolation and loneliness knock at the door from time to time, it is my hope that one of these conversations will emerge from my full, full heart and I will be comforted and connected yet again.

I've stashed away unexpected, deeply meaningful, early morning and late night chats with old and new friends, beloved mentors, and random passers-by during my time in Nashville for The Young Clergy Women Project conference. Whether it was a hug in front of the Vanderbilt dumpsters from Maxine (one of the janitorial staff I was privileged enough to walk along side during the living wage campaign) or an unexpected theological debate about the meaning of "justice," hashed out with a then-stranger, now-friend, on the well-worn couches of the Disciples Divinity House: these words, hugs, and moments of meaning-making are packed deep within my soul, ready to go with me through the stress and chaos of the coming semesters.

My hand closed tightly around a re-reading of Wendell Berry's The Mad Farmer Liberation Front, my heart stuffed to the brim with new music, my belly full of new jokes and moments of laughing so hard it hurts, I am thankful for the embodiment of joy, the overwhelming sense of community, the beauty of this life. I am thankful for seasons of radical receptivity and unbounded, embodied, goodness. Thanks be to God.
Spirit by Linda Allen-submitted to the Kress Project of the Georgia Museum of Art

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