Body Truth-Telling & Tenderness

Three weeks ago I hurt my back. It has been hard to walk, to sit, to write. I stumbled around and stopped writing, and when I finally picked up my pen again, I wrote this:

There are many types of offerings in the world’s religions. Some people leave cups of grain or lentils, made into stew, flowers or rice or coins, creased dollar bills or slips of paper with ‘please’ written in pencil and ‘thank you’ written in ink. Some people sing or dance or feed the hungry.

I tell the truth. That is my offering. Here is a story that cannot be proven:

But I can’t tell you that story. Not yet. I can barely hold it. Every time I think of the story I shake, my stomach rises in a wave of sickness, my lip trembles, my eyes fill. I feel crazy and I should know from crazy. I should know.

While I’m holding this story, I’m also working on a project for school on homosexuality and the church. I forgot how it feels to be called an abomination. objectively. morally. disordered.  I’ve been living insulated, passing for safe.

But my body knows. All the stories my body carries and want-needs to tell.    Not yet, not yet.    Shhhhhhhhh.

So while my brave writer friends keep their pens moving, I stop. I make tea. I watch the rain. I rock a little. I remember my pen is not the enemy. My body did not invent the stories. I am not alone.

Pema Chodron says: “To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.” She says: “When things are shaky and nothing is working, we might realize that we are on the verge of something. We might realize that this is a very vulnerable and tender place, and that tenderness can go either way.”

So I am praying for tenderness. I am old enough to know the story my body knows will not destroy me. I am praying for tenderness. So that when I do speak that story, I will not punish myself for talking. For telling the truth.



  1. Shannon Friedman

    Hello Beth,
    That was beautiful and beautifully written! And true of course! Praying courage and strength your way.
    Love you

  2. To carry deep story is an act of courage. I honor you.

  3. The body never lies. Telling the story in a safe place with support is painful, results in tenderness &, with loving support, new life happens. A friend of mine in graduate school had a poster on her door. It was a picture of Raggedy Ann going through the rollers of an old-fashioned wringer washer. The caption read: “The truth may set you free, but it sure hurts a lot in the meantime.” I wish you patience for the right timing and courage in the truth-telling. I hold you in my heart & prayers.

    P.S. You’re not crazy………

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