Friday, July 09, 2010

The Importance of Bodies



I have to be honest, one of the things I was most worried about during this pregnancy was how I would feel when I first saw baby Lamp.  Would I be OK seeing this little, under-developed body?  Would I feel sadness over her body that would out weigh the joy of her arrival?  Would I love her immediately and recognize her as mine? I was nervous...  

Clear back around 20 weeks there was an ultrasound tech who was the first to give us the specific details of Lamp's limbs.  She told us how she was unable to have children.  She then said something like this,  Oh don't feel bad for me.  I feel much worse for you guys.  Every parent deserves to have a healthy child...we just figured our situation was God's will.  I know she didn't mean to say something that rubbed me the wrong way, but it did.  Didn't she know she was talking about my baby girl?  Didn't she know that while we might be sad about her little under-developed, not-sure-what-to-label-it body that we didn't feel like baby Lamp had somehow imposed herself on us making us feel that, we don't deserve this.  I thought a lot about her comment and why it bothered me.  And I realize that maybe one reason is probably a fundamental difference in the way we view our purpose here on earth.  Obviously I don't know her belief system, but I do know mine and I think this is an area of Mormonism that goes usually goes under the radar.  I have often thought that a lot of people might be interested to know some of our fundamental doctrines, rather than the same lame rehashing of pologmy jokes and our love of jello. 

You might remember my post about perfection and our bodies and how no matter how much we try, physical perfection is not something that's gonna happen in this life.  The other side of that coin--the coin that says don't worship your body--is the part that also tells us how important, eternally important, our bodies are.  It's a fine balance... on one hand we are not to worship our bodies, but on the other we are never to forget the precious gift that they are.  Now I personally find this to be some very interesting and amazing stuff...and I'm not sure most people would know that Mormons believe this, so here we go.... 

While most religions debate about life after death, we like to throw a little curve ball in there and tell you, not only do we believe in life after death, we believe in life before birth.  Mormons believe that before we came to earth we lived in a pre-mortal existance.  (Perhaps we're not the only ones, but I don't know of any other religions that preach this...but then again I don't know that much about other religions).  We were all there with Heavenly Father and Jesus.  Now I'm going to skip a bunch of important stuff about this pre-mortal existance and just get to the part about our bodies.... there came a point where we were told we could come to earth to live in this mortal existance.  We were told it would be a time of trial and that we wouldn't remember our pre-earth life.  Of course the main goal of this earth life thing was that it is a test--a test to see if we would make good choices and make our way back to Heavenly Father's presense....some people would do their best to make good choices, and some people would make bad choices and be wicked.  (And of course it's not all black and white...I don't want you to get stuck in a Heaven vs. Hell mentality because did you know Mormon's also believe that even really bad people go to a pretty nice place?  And it's not even called hell... But that's another discussion for another time...back to the subject at hand).   BUT one thing that we would ALL get is a body.  This joining of our body and our spirit is what comprises our soul.  Again, I think this might be a uniquely Mormon point of view, at least in the Christian world--correct me if I'm wrong--that the soul is not just the spirit, but the body and spirit together.  Our bodies alone are an extremely precious gift.  And then when we die on earth, as we all surely will, we will ALL be resurrected--meaning that when our bodies and spirits seperate in death, they will once again be reuinted.  And no matter who you are, no matter if you were a wicked and evil person, you were you will get that gift of resurrection--of having a body again--just because Heavenly Father is merciful like that.  And not only will we get our bodies back, we will get a perfected body.  I'm not exactly sure how to define 'perfected' because I don't know that we'll all come back looking like 20 year old super models, but our bodies will be free of disease, pain, deformity, sickness, etc.    

So with that quick background info on the importance of bodies from a Mormon perspective, I return my thoughts to Lamp.  I haven't received any great answers as to why she was given this body (not that I've asked).  And while some people belive that we might have been given certain choices, or volunteered for certain earthly circumstances while in our pre-mortal life I'm not going to speculate on whether or not Lamp choose this for herself.  I don't know about that stuff.  But what I do know is that just having a body is a blessing.  Of course that's easy to say when you have a healthy, fully functioning body...but even then I forget from time to time.  I never once thought, I deserve a healthy baby.  As much as this situation affects us, it's not really about us.  It's about her.  Her deformed, underdevoloped, a-typical body is still a gift.  And while I don't know if she volunteered for this trial, I'm pretty sure that she was happy to be receiving a body, regardless of it's condition, because it's that precious of a gift.

While her body may be a gift to her from heaven, her life has been a gift to us.       
When I saw her for the first time, I don't think I had ever seen anything more beautiful.  I loved her immediately and knew that she was mine.  


14 comments:

  1. Great explanation of our beliefs and great explanation of your feelings. She is so beautiful and I can't wait to see her grow.

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  2. I look at her picture and I can see her precious sweetness.

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  3. Here in Memphis (St. Jude Hospital stands) you know the commercials of all the sweet bald children.We have had to many conversations of How God would let this happen or subject these perfect children to so much pain even Death. At a sweet humbling moment the words came that "it must be that important, that sacred." As long as you get a chance to come down!

    We are certain Lamp when finding out about her family to be....jumped feet first at the chance!

    I love that she is home and you skipped the NICU..I love that you are all together.

    Sending love
    The Kimballs

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  4. This was lovely. I've been thinking about you and B a lot. (Lots of prayers coming your way.) I'm SO happy to hear how well things are going for you all. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Lamp really is a gift from Heaven.

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  5. I came across your blog by chance. I know Chelsea through my cousin and loved reading what you had to say on her blog about dressing stylish while pregnant. I have been reluctant to post anything on your blog since I don't know you, but I can't help myself any longer. Your story has touched me so much. It isn't your story so much, as your attitude and spirit. You are so beautiful and amazing. I am expecting my first baby in November and I have been so touched with your beautiful words of faith and love. I want you to know that I pray for your little Lamp and family and I know that God has a plan for all of us. I loved what you had to say about the importance of our bodies. It is such a wonderful gospel principle that I have found so dear and important, and you wrote about it perfectly. Lamp is very lucky to have a chance to come here to earth and be with a family and mother like she does.

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  6. what a beautiful belief system! All babies are precious and amazing, and we are lucky to have them! Sending you lots of love, and I am really missing you more than ever! Are you coming down to SC to see family any time soon (or in the next 4 years:)? We are moving there in August!

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  7. this was an absolutely beautiful post. your insight is just purely lovely. thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

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  8. I'm going to go a step further: I think our bodies are integrally tied to the missions we have in life. You have your body because it fits your mission and your growth.

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  9. Thanks for sharing these important beliefs with all. I'm sure baby Lamp feels your family's love and is being blessed already because of it. Thanks for sharing the love.

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  10. I agree with what everyone has said. You are truly an amazing woman and I am sure that Lamp was meant to have you for her mommy! I'm so glad to hear that you are doing better this time around emotionally. You are so strong in so many ways! I wish I were still in Cincy to see you guys!

    P.S. That picture of her is so darling!

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  11. Beautiful, touching, and profound. I cried as I read this.

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  12. Amy your blog is beautiful!! And so is your family. You word things so perfectly and almost always make me tear up (as a fellow mother). Congrats on your newest addition!

    -Jenny (not sure if you remember me....I use to teach Relief Society when you were the RS President in Provo back in the day)

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  13. Anonymous1:14 PM

    So I don't usually read blogs, but since I was thinking of you I thought I better 'catch up' ;0)

    I was thinking about that last sentence - perhaps we can all relate to that appreciation of loving parts that, to others, may seem unattractive... When we have a bald spouse or a chubby hubby, or a daughter with a mark more unique than anyone else, you look at those parts and love EVERY part of that person, partly because they are YOURS, and partly because you feel privileged that YOU have something SO unique, and SO special. Your gift was not manufactured (so to speak), but it was handmade just for you.

    I loved that Eleanor had a hemangioma when she was born truly my FIRST thought when I saw her was "I will always recognize you". Even though I know her 'spot' has bothered others, I have ALWAYS loved it, as much as I love her nose or her elbows. It's her's and she is mine.

    I think recognizing the great love we have of our child's "imperfections" should say a LOT about Heavenly Father's love for us in all of ours.

    Love,
    Laticia

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  14. Tara Sz10:46 PM

    The importance of body and soul is also a Catholic teaching. Just found your blog and am feeling blessed to read it.

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