Bringing Our Bodies With Us

So I have this recurring dream. It always takes place on the playground outside my elementary school, but with my college friends. In this dream, my mind is completely detached from my body and floating about 20 feet above me just kinda hanging out, observing my day. I go to classes, eat lunch, the usual.

But then about halfway through the dream I start realizing that I’m detached from my body and start to panic. So I hop on my bike and start riding home as fast as I can. The whole time I’m freaking out because what could it possibly mean if my mind is detached from my body? Why can’t I hear what I’m saying in conversations? More importantly, why am I floating above my life rather than actually living it? How can I reconnect with my body? And then my bike crashes.

Cue terrified wake up.

I’ve had this dream about 6 times. And every time I wake up I look at my hands where there are scars from when I fell off my bike when I’m younger… I don’t quite know what brings it on… but make no mistake about it, I almost need a paper bag to breathe into once I bolt awake.

Why do I dream about my lived experience being so disconnected from my physical body? How can I reconnect the two?

I feel like a lot of times society tries to get us to separate our body from our soul. We discuss the two separately, like they’re in a vacuum, independent of each other. But all it takes is one look at the scars that we bring with our bodies remind us of where we’ve been. To remind us of the bike ride, the accident, the surgery. We carry these scars to remind us that we’re finite people who carry the marks of our broken human experience. Marks that are different from person-to-person, but are there whether we see them or not. These are the marks of our humanity that we carry with us all the time.

We’re human because we’re marked.

This is what Thomas understood at the end of the Gospel of John. He wouldn’t believe that the resurrection was real until he saw the marks of Christ’s experience on the cross.

This is what the marked body looks like for Thomas. Holes in his palms and a gash in his side. The cross creates the wounds that Christ carries with him through the tomb and into new life. But even in new life, he still carries the marks of his human experience. Even though these wounds killed him on Earth, he’s restored into life with them.

Every time we think back to remember our baptism, we’re reminded that we are marked as well. We’re human because we’re marked.

We bring our bodies with us when we honor our experience as something that affects us long into the future. We bring our bodies with us because our bodies bear the marks of our human experience. Ultimately, we bring our bodies with us for the sake of honoring the Creator of all experiences.

And because, along the way, we get some pretty cool scars.

Cheers,
Eric

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