Tuesday, April 11, 2006


I decided today that I'm not going to let my body and my sense of self to take backseat to my school responsibilities. This may seem like a rather obvious conclusion to have come to, but truthfully, I have struggled nearly all my life with putting too much importance on grades and on excelling in school. When I know that no one cares about your GPA in graduate school, why am I so fixated on As, trembling at the very thought of staining my track record with a B in an accounting class? Long after I have graduated and gotten a job and probably moved on to something else, when my grades are long forgotten and many of the technical skills I had once mastered have become dull and rusted, my body and my self-worth, and yes, my God, these things will remain. And while I know that God will have grace with me even in all the time that I do not give to Him (not that this justifies living in a way that less than glorifies Him), my body will constantly remind me how it was neglected and forgotten during my college years. I'm 22--at the peak of my physical shape. I don't want to spend my twenties overwhelmed to the point that I cannot physically exert myself and enjoy breathing so hard my lungs want to burst, or my eyes stinging with perspiration that rolls down my forehead.

I went on a run this evening, a beautiful spring (though practically summer) twilight. I hadn't run in about a week and a half, but before that it had been at least six weeks. Though my run tonight was short--only about 2 miles--it felt so wonderful to get moving and out in the fresh air. Lately I have had it in my head that I was developing a vitamin D deficiency (completely fabricated in my own mind--it would be really hard to shut yourself away from the sun to that degree), and it was a healing experience to be out in the fading light of day, running beneath the honeysuckle that creeps over the sidewalks, through sprinklers and past dads sitting on their front porches with their young daughters playing in the front yard. And I decided that nothing, nothing, not even an A in my advanced accounting class, is worth forgetting and forsaking the exhilaration of working your body. I know that the dividends will be much greater... and I know that I am preserving not only my health and well-being for myself, but am also preserving my body as a temple, a sanctuary to honor the Lord.

As I was walking home from class today, I saw something intriguing--a bright red Jeep Grand Cherokee, pollen-dipped, and on the back of the Jeep a spider web, the most prototypical concentric, undamaged, possibly, that I have ever seen. I think about the times when I have taken note of spider webs in nature... Beneath my mom's climbing jasmine, along infrequently traveled trails through the woods, places serene and inviting to a spider seeking to set its wily trap. But never, in all my experience, on the back of a Jeep. The golden-brown grains of white oak blossoms, which litter the sidewalks all over campus, lay suspended in the adhesive fibers of the web, alongside the salmon-colored, teardrop-shaped wings of maple seeds. The most prominent symbols of the birth and growth embodied in spring, but not a single insect. Nor did I see the spider. Perhaps she built another web elsewhere, not putting much faith in the power of one built upon a brightly painted hunk of metal sitting in a parking lot. I hope she did.

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