ACCEPT THE BODY YOU HAVE

February 7, 2021

I hope the title of this post did not scare anyone away from reading what I have to say. Many headlines in newspapers need a little more explanation to hook their potential readers to continue and read the article. Ever notice how some headlines have a smaller printed sentence or two to make sure you are curious enough or interested enough to continue?

Let me do that now by saying my headline has caveats and exceptions to what you see. No, not everyone will accept their body in its present form. The great news, though, is that many times we can change or improve on our bodies as they are at the moment. I know, I’ve had to do that to my body. Stick with me and I’ll explain how many others have done so too.

The photo above shows some children participating in Special Olympics. I’ve never seen children in person competing in this popular event held around the country. I was scheduled to go to and help hold a Special Olympics here in Longview yesterday, but was sick and did not get to go. I was sure disappointed.

However, through the years,  I’ve seen many of these events on television. Usually what I would see would be when a reporter was interviewing one of these precious children. I was ,and am always, amazed when the athlete will tell the reporter how proud they are that they came in first place, or whatever place in their footrace, bicycle race, or whatever event they were in. What enthusiasm and confidence they have in themselves! Many of these special-needs children don’t look like what some would say is normal. Thank God, that doesn’t seem to bother these children. I often wonder if some of these children even notice that they may look different than “normal” children. Once some of them, when they get older, may notice some differences in themselves and “normal-looking people” and may not like how their bodies look. But somehow they continue as they are, knowing there’s nothing they can do to change how their bodies look. They are in a group that may never accept their looks.

My niece, Kelly Peterson, taught many years in elementary school, different ages of these special-needs children. They are often referred to as special ed kids. As Kelly has not yet married and has no children of her own, she told me once that she feels that these kids are her kids. She loves them and cares for them so much that she feels her specialty is God’s calling. She went on  further  in college and earned two master’s degrees to help her know better how to teach these kids. Now she is part of a team in Texas that teaches other teachers how to train these children so that they may be all that they can become. I think one hurdle of these kids is accepting the way they are. And Kelly has helped so many of them to do that.

I’ve done the best I can to keep up with a man who had the first total face transplant back in 2010. He was in a shooting accident and his face was destroyed. I have seen before and after photos of that man. No wonder he was dissatisfied with how he looked. But he searched to see if it was even possible to do anything about his face. Finally, he found a group of 30 doctors in Spain who said they thought they could help him. They took on the job and did the transplant. They announced publicly that they thought the surgery was a complete success and they would know more about it in a year. There was a great difference in the man’s appearance after the healing period was over. I think the man wishes to remain anonymous as I’ve never seen his name published or even where he lived. Again, thank God, there was something that could be done, but the man had to search it out and take some responsibility on his own to do what he could do.

And probably everyone has heard of Stephen Hawking. He’s one of my heroes. He was a brilliant British scientist, teacher, and author. All was going well in his life until at age 21 he came down with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).  His body soon began to degenerate. He ended up in a motorized wheelchair. I’ve seen excerpts from different documentaries showing him all bent over to one side of his wheelchair and having to “talk” in a mechanical voice, using a computer – at first using one finger, then one muscle in his cheek. I’m sure he did not like the way his body looked, but he accepted reality and continued to have a great career. He died at age 76 having made great contributions to science.

Another great man that you’ve probably never heard of is Nick Vujicic.  Eleven years ago I was searching through the channels on my television and saw a scene that caught my eyes and made me stop to watch. It was Nick being interviewed by a Christian reporter on a talk show. What caught my eyes was Nick sitting up on a couch doing this interview. He had no arms or legs, only his torso, and head. He was born that way. In his interview, he pointed out how his mother and daddy, even though devout Christians, nearly had a nervous breakdown after he was born. They could only think that there was no way Nick could ever accomplish anything with his life. The interview was so interesting that I bought Nick’s autobiography immediately after the program went off.  The title is LIFE WITHOUT LIMITS. My notes in the book tell me that I bought it on Nov. 30, 2010. I read in in about three days. The picture on the front cover shows Nick sitting on a piece of carpet, smiling. If you could read that book it would change your life forever. Nick kept repeating in his book that godliness with contentment is great gain. ( I Tim. 6:6). He also kept repeating the serenity prayer. WOW!

And I love the story of Naaman as found in 2 Kings 5.  The chapter tells us so many great things that Naaman had accomplished.  But after all the accolades were mentioned the scripture says, “but he was a leper.”  I’m sure Naaman did not like the way he looked, but he knew in his day there was nothing that could be done about it. However, a little slave girl told Naaman where he could go to see a great prophet and that the prophet could tell him what to do to be healed. Naaman went and indeed he was healed.

I could name many other instances of people who did not like the way they looked but choose to do what was possible to change things. I mentioned that I was one such person too.  I won’t take the time to go into detail about my problem except to say I had gotten very obese. I went from the time Sandra and I got married fifty years earlier and me weighing 175 pounds to weighing 275 pounds. I had to see a doctor as I was feeling very poorly. My doctor diagnosed me as having severe gout, the kind that can be fatal if not treated. He said he could help me, but the medicines and treatments would not work until I took off all my excess weight.  He was brutally honest, he said to lose the weight or die.

On the way to our car after leaving his office, Sandra said to me, “ we’re both going on a diet starting right now.” We agreed together we could do it. Long story short, within one year I had lost 100 pounds.

However, I still have many health issues caused by my being overweight all those years. The way I lost weight was through diet and exercise. And I was continually thinking of scripture that motivated me.  I Corinthians 6:19-20 told me “your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own.” I began seeing how I had violated a law. I had sinned in not taking better care of my body.

I could go on and on but won’t. I bet maybe you can see some things you could change in your body, too, and can do it if you want to, if it’s possible.

God Bless You,
Spencer and Sandra Plumley

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