This morning I creak and stretch as I pull myself out of a deep sleep and into another day. Before me today is the simple task of getting to the lab to give up some of my blood. Blood. That incredible river of life within that’s full of information, that will detail the state of my health to those trained to read its language.
Illness has not brought me to this, but curiosity. Due diligence. Is there something I should know or can do to take the best care of myself? It doesn’t take long for me to notice the difference I feel on a morning when I am denied the simple pleasures of my cup of coffee and ritual morning snack. The engine doesn’t kick over so well without fuel, it doesn’t roar into the new day quite so easily without calories and a little caffeine.
As I wait these few hours until my appointment, I reflect on the metaphors God has woven throughout creation. While blood is the tangible river of life to the physical being, it is merely the transport vessel for oxygen, the equally vital yet intangible ingredient for life. The seen, the unseen, and that barrier in between where one is infused within another, carrying life to every cell. I am intrigued as my imagination takes the next step.
Body, Soul and Spirit. What if I went to the lab this morning and had a few vials of the emotional rivers running within me? What would they tell of the internal workings inside of me? How are my levels of joy, interest, hope, and gratitude? Is there an over-abundance of anger, fear, or sadness?
Like my physical being, my soul speaks its own language. Am I listening?
All of us make decisions about self-care. Sometimes we ignore the signs of physical sickness out of fear. It’s easier to look the other way, just as we choose to ignore the signs of an ailing soul. What then? Shouldn’t we be just as diligent to explore the source as we are when our bodies are sick?
Being proactive isn’t a bad idea, as I am doing with my labs today. Are there ways to be proactive with the health of our inner being, our intangible self? It takes a certain amount of courage to know ourselves. We only get one life to live, one life to fully embrace. It seems to me a responsibility we have, for this amazing gift we have been given.
Closing my eyes, I reflect upon the women who have gathered around my table over the years. They come to share the stories of their lives that they’ve begun to explore and write down. They are not writers per se, just people who are being proactive to know where they have come from, to understand what experiences have shaped them. They are cultivating wisdom, courage and faith. I am certain that here, around this table, I have caught glimpses of the Great Physician at work—the One who understands what is broken or unrealized, who knows how to bring health and vigor to the sacred ground of the human soul. I am one of many who knows the wonder of His work within.
My doors are open and the tea pot is on. My task? Encouraging women to write and share their stories.
Like the blood I will give up later this morning, the stories carry the markers.
And you know, your story does not need to be full of tragedy to warrant exploring. Like blood testing, knowing yourself is what counts. It’s what gives you direction going forward in life.
Most of us do not know what our full, healthy potential looks like. We bring all of who we are from the past forward and assume, “This is who I am!” Maybe some of the stories that have defined you don’t have to define you anymore. Get a physical. Take care of that one amazing body you’ve been given.
Just as important—take care of your soul. Your journey through life has informed who you are today. Remind yourself of where you have been. Gather together what you know within. Your story may shine a light on the path of wholeness for another, it may shine a light on that path for you.
Cindy Peterson is a native of the Pacific Northwest. Mother of four, Grandmother, wife and lover of God. Captivated by the redemptive work of God through story in the small group setting. Outdoors woman, athlete, gardener, photographer. She loves to run in the woods with her dogs.