Friday, July 29, 2005

Can't Get No Respect

Left, right, left, right. One leg stretches out in front of the other as each foot hits the sidewalk. My walk becomes an unexpected reverie.

We sure take our legs for granted, I think. Without them, I wouldn't be out here walking in the glorious sunshine.

Nevertheless, I've always regarded my legs to be—well, let's just say less than satisfactory. I've never given them much respect.

Too short. One small mole. Two scars. A roadmap of spidery blue and purple veins. Thick thighs. Cellulite lumps.

In spite of my disparaging thoughts, these hinged limbs of bones and sinew, threaded with nerves and blood vessels, and covered with soft skin, have taken me everywhere I have ever been in this life.

These legs first learned to crawl—then take unsteady steps.
These legs jumped rope, played hopscotch, climbed trees, and rode a bike.
These legs played hide-and-seek with my cousins.
These legs walked me down the aisle to marry the man of my dreams on my wedding day.
These legs have walked back and forth late at night comforting a colicky baby.
These legs have strolled the sandy shores of the East Coast, West Coast, and the Gulf of Mexico.
These legs have sauntered along the Thames, Seine, and Blue Danube Rivers.
These legs have traipsed through castles, cathedrals, and catacombs.
These legs climbed high mountain trails.
These legs paced the floor of a hospital's ICU.
These legs that I have disrespected have walked more miles
than I could imagine.
Upstairs and downstairs, outside and inside. My legs have taken me everywhere I've ever been. How then can I be so contemptuous of them? Where would I be without them? Would I want to trade places with someone who is confined to a wheel chair? Yes, for too long I have taken for granted the mobility they provide for me.

I know I'm not alone. I'm certainly not the only one who is a bit contemptuous of one body part or another. It seems to be a common malady. Some think that they're too flat chested or too big-breasted. Too tall or too short. Too fat or too skinny. Others hate their noses or ears or lips. We look in the mirror with disdain. Thus, we keep the revenue streaming for anyone who promises us a bit more beauty with some new "miracle" cream, liposuction, plastic surgery, Botox and collagen injections, or diet and exercise plans. (Recently, I received an email advertisement that said, "Lose weight while you sleep!" How's that for a gimmick!)

When will we learn to be comfortable living in our own skin? When will we begin to respect our God-designed bodies? As for me, it's time to appreciate these legs and to give them the healthy dose of respect that is long overdue.

Yes, today, the steady rhythm of my gait is a reminder of the gift of legs. I shall never win a beautiful leg contest, but these legs have been loyal, lifetime friends. Their fifty-plus years of service should warrant a full-blown, all-out celebration. No longer will I withhold the gratitude and dignity that they so deserve.

(SORRY! NO PHOTOGRAPH OF MY LEGS---just my walking shoes!)

(c) 2005 Marlene Depler

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