Saturday, June 9, 2012

prayer run

i run. i run because i want to, i like to. But more than that, i run because i have to. because if i don’t, i might sink underneath the weight of the world, i might curl inward, my chin tucked so tight into my chest out of fear, despair, wayward longings, loneliness.

it hurts, and i’m still trying to figure out where. it’s somewhere beneath my heart, below my ribs, tucked deep in the belly of my gut. it pulses; some days, when my identity seems to slip right through my fingers, it beats stronger, heavier, louder. these days the world always reminds me i’m it’s object, my flesh theirs for the taking. but don’t worry, they say, we’re creating you just the way we want you to be. our desires must be yours: beauty, attention, clothes, makeup, sex, flesh, perfection—desire. their desires consume me and i often don’t fight it. even scarier, most of the time i don’t even realize they've completely consumed me. the world has bought me, its people have bought me, and now, i have bought me into it too.

i’ve forgotten, it seems, who and Who’s i am.

my body is morphed and mangled by the constant tugging of their desires, my vision blurred as i stagger forward. i no longer exist, but am segmented and separated. Skin. Hair. Eyes. Lips. Legs, butt, hips. Shoulders, chest. Stomach, feet. a twisted, broken mosaic is all that’s left—all the pieces, scattered and broken, but the picture no longer fits together.

a divided person is a conquered person. they’re no longer a person at all.

and so i run. i run to know, to feel my body, each part struggling for wholeness. Feet swelling, leg muscles stretching, tensing. Pound…pound…pound, they land on the pavement—the dull thud that courses through my muscles begins to match the pounding in my head, the feel of my blood pulsing through every vein until it explodes in my temples. Heart throbs, chest tightening. my shoulders tense, my neck stiffens, arms pumping. slowly we sync together; a chaotic symphony of mangled body parts finds their rhythm in gasps of breath, until together we scream, “i am more than flesh and bones! To dust i shall return, but you can’t tear us apart…” my body becomes my voice. together we run, together we are once more united. if the world won’t listen, then i will listen to my body. i will run, each motion, mile after mile, propelling me towards wholeness.

The run, my body, becomes my prayer.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting take. Given that we should "pray[ing] without ceasing," every activity we do should be a prayer, or should be done while praying.

    I myself fall short of this, but sometimes, monks are taught to synchronize their breaths with the Jesus prayer ("Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner" or the simpler "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me). This synchronization permeates everything they do and every fiber of their being.

    One monk in the 60 Minutes documentary, upon being asked, "Are you praying right now," he chuckled. When pressed on why he laughed, he replied, "What's funny is, how you think I could stop praying."

    Here is the first part of that documentary, if you are interested: