One Body, Many Parts: Day 3 of 4

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Part 2: Healing Ourselves

-Deborah Jean Lee

Yesterday, I wrote about how each part of the body plays a unique and crucial role. I invited you to look at yourself and name the gifts you possess.

I want to recognize that it’s difficult to share our gifts when we’re wounded. So today we will explore self care and healing and why these practices matter to both ourselves and to the larger body.

One more time for the people in the back:

1 Corinthians 12
14 … the body is not made up of one part but of many.
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as God wanted them to be.

As different parts of one body, we belong to each other. If we cut off the foot, how will the body run? If we cut out the heart, how will the body stay alive?

What those in the dominant culture may not realize is they need us. And they don’t need us as an afterthought, they need us in an absolutely integral way. The problem: they’ve perpetuated theologies and systems that harm us, that sever our vitality to the body.

We cannot wait for those in power to mend what’s broken; we must seek healing ourselves. Sadly, those theologies and systems that harm us can stifle our understanding of our won worth. And when we can’t grasp the fullness of our worth, we don’t always allow ourselves the healing space we need. Feeling powerless and unworthy, we can forget to take care of ourselves, setting up a cycle of self loathing and self harm.

Sometimes the first step to healing is simply recognizing that we deserve to be healed. That our wholeness is a gift to ourselves and a gift to the body.

So first, close your eyes, take a deep breath and feel your presence. Feel the space you take up. Feel the air passing in and out of your body. Feel your immeasurable worth.

Next, name the things that help you find healing. Maybe it’s carving out time for solitude. Maybe it’s therapy, hanging out with your besties or getting a massage. Maybe it’s giving yourself permission to take up space or ask for help. Who can you lean on and what resources can you turn to? What concrete steps will help you care for yourself today?

Wherever you are, know that you deserve healing, care and love. The world needs you to be healthy and cared for. Your strength makes the body stronger.


About The Author

Deborah Jian Lee is an award-winning journalist, radio producer and author of the critically acclaimed book Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelicalism.

Her book reporting has taken her to secret societies of LGBT Christians within conservative enclaves, social justice Christian communes and many other corners of the subculture, where she explores the intersection of evangelical faith with race, gender, sexuality and progressive politics.

She writes about a variety of subjects, including religion, international human rights, health, travel, personal finance and much more. Her stories have been published by Slate, Religion Dispatches, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, New York, Reuters, GOOD, SELF, WBEZ and WNYC, and many others. She was previously a staff reporter at The Associated Press.

Her series about migrant workers in China, written with reporting partner Sushma Subramanian, was a finalist for the 2012 Livingston Awards. The story, about the 58 million children left behind in China's countryside without their parents due to restrictive national policies, follows one mother's journey from the heart of China's industrial boom back to her village, as she tries to reunite her broken family. The pair also produced a radio documentary which explores the world of China's "bachelor villages," or areas overrun with aging bachelors whose bleak marriage prospects are a direct result of the country's gender imbalance. That documentary won the 2012 Newswomen’s Club of New York Front Page award for radio feature.

Deborah has taught news reporting and magazine writing as a professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City. She previously taught intro to journalism to undergraduate students at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY.