The human body is a beautiful and stunning masterpiece. And at the same time, it’s dirty – producing many unpleasant odors, discharges, and conditions. There’s much wisdom in learning to accept both of these realities.
Naturally, we’re drawn to what is beautiful and try to clean up what is dirty as quickly as possible. And certainly there’s no need to stay dirty whenever we get the chance to clean up.
But for some this becomes a point of hiding. We clean up to pretend as if we were never dirty.
And eventually a certain intolerance develops – only accepting those things which are polished and pleasant in ourselves and in others.
And at the other extreme are those who only see a bag of bones – a body of decay ready for the grave. The body might be considered functional, but not particularly beautiful.
And hiding takes place here as well. The celebration of beauty is seen as shallow and our dirtiness is the only thing accepted as truly real.
But, in the end, both extremes fall short. And our bodies remain beautiful and dirty at the same time.
Its dirtiness allows us to remain humble. Regardless of how well we might clean up, there are many messy realities we still have to deal with.
And its beauty allows us to remember the dignity and glory God has given each of us. While there’s a lot we must suffer and endure in our bodies, they’re much more than mere functional tools. They’re part of who we are and how we reflect God’s image in the world.
And of course, this doesn’t just apply to our bodies. Beauty and dirt go hand in hand throughout much of life. And life becomes deeper and richer when we can appreciate both.
Learn to accept the mingled realities of beauty and dirt, and the humble dignity that comes with it.
Photo by Ramez E. Nassif on Unsplash