Day 16: VISCERAL
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while people say to me continually,
“Where is your God?”
These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I went with the throng,
and led them in procession to the house of God,
with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,
a multitude keeping festival.
I talked to a good friend today whose body is not cooperating.
She wants to do things, normal, everyday things, but her body is having trouble communicating with itself, and doing those normal, everyday things swings from difficult to near-impossible.
For all of our medical marvels and healthcare technology, we are still beings with bodies. This is how we experience the world: viscerally.
Viscera is latin for intestines. It’s the innards. Our innards.
In Sunday School this week, we told stories of times we’d been lost, or lost people we loved, and how it felt when we – or they – were found.
As I listened, I could feel my innards clenching with anxiety, spasming in sympathetic terror. And I could feel – viscerally – the release and relief when someone was found. I could FEEL it.
Generally, I am not great at paying attention to my body. I’d rather live up in my brain and treat the rest of me as accessory to intellect. This is not a great way to encounter the world. I miss out on all kinds of input – beauty, grief, the joy of that feeling of relief at being found – when I ignore my viscera.
But the thing is: God came to us incarnate: In carne. En-meated. Viscera-ed. Jesus was a being with a body. God did not say to Godself, “Hmmmm, I’d like to draw near to those humans. I think I’ll send a giant intellect to earth and inhabit it.” God did not say, “Oh, yes, the best way to be WITH my children will be to swoosh around them as a wily spirit.” No, God arrived complete with intestines, uncooperative nerve-endings, and the capability to experience the world through taste and touch and smell.
God arrived embodied.
That makes God seem vulnerable, and it makes me seem ignorant.
If God not only created me as a being-with-a-body, but also decided to come on over and join all of us as a being-with-a-body herself, well, I should probably be paying more attention.
That will probably mean NOT eating the next batch of party mix I make in two sittings flat.
And listening to my viscera more intently, hearing its willingness and unwillingness to cooperate, blessing its abilities and lamenting its inabilities.
Because apparently, that’s what God is up to.