“You got to walk while you can walk!” an elderly man walking with a cane said to me, “because when you can’t walk, you won’t be able to walk.” I thought to myself, “How true.” We have to utilize our bodies, when they break down we have to tend to them to they’ll work again, and we have to use them again when our abilities are restored. “Walk while you can walk.” That statement rang so true with me because as late in life Ex-Christian I am finally learning the wisdom of living within my own body. The wisdom of knowing that my body is the essence of me, not just an appendage of myself, as Christianity mistaught me.
Believing that my body was just an extension of myself, made acceptance of reality of health problems extremely difficult whenever things went wrong with my body. And my internalization of the new truth about my body being such a process makes acceptance of the reality of health problems difficult still. As an example, I’m an athlete at heart, and I keep running into obstacles and setbacks in my health that interfere with my being an athlete. That means I have to accept the reality of the obstacles and setbacks, and embrace the fact that I’m going to have to work out at a gym for the rest of my life if I want to continuing pursuing my love of athletics. As an outdoor person and a person who through the fault of Christianity has been disconnected from her body most of her life, the idea of working out at a gym is anathema to me. So I have to retrain my mind to grasp the truth that my body is “me,” in order to accept the reality that I will have to work out at a gym for the rest of my life. Indeed, the athletic lifestyle itself was a gift, a beautiful result of my de-conversion process from Christianity.
In conclusion, the elderly man’s imperative to “walk while you can walk,” was reinforcement of a truth I am already learning, that I can and must embrace my body as the essence of my self.