Globe Syndicate

for release July 13, 2001

Another Way

by Melodie Davis

Your Marvelous Body

Ann said her son Phillip was the amusement of all who heard him in the department store dressing room that day. She was on every woman's most dreaded mission: trying to find a swimsuit for the summer. Like many mothers with preschoolers, she had to have her not-quite-four-year-old son, Phillip, tag along. More honest than a husband ever dare be, Phillip functioned as her own on-the-spot commentator. She is your average-sized 30-something mother of two.

Ann picked three suits to try on. After she put on the first one, Phillip looked at her quizzically and asked, "Are you going to wear your socks with that?" Somehow trying on suits with socks never did much for my legs, either.

She assured him no, of course not.

She tried on the next one.

"Do policemen arrest people for wearing bathing suits?" Ann assumed that meant the suit was nearing the dangerous category but she assured him that people were more likely to be arrested for not wearing suits than for anything they had on.

She tried on her last choice.

"That one is kind of silly-nice," Phillip said with his preschooler's vocabulary. Ann assumed it was the nearest thing she was going to get to a compliment, so she bought the suit.

Well I've never had a four-year-old male commentator help me pick out a swimsuit, but even my slim daughters hate the task of swimsuit shopping: too little material, too much leg, too high of price. I think we all hate it so much because it brings us face-to-mirror with the reality of our bodies.

But God gave us our bodies, and pretty marvelous creations they are. Contemplate just your skin for a minute. At least while we are younger, the skin is made to heal over any openings very quickly; if a foreign object like a splinter invades it, the skin festers and removes the intruder itself-without your help!

Become conscious of your breathing. Amazing things happen when you breathe. I'm not much of a scientist, but when you reflect just a little on this process, it is amazing! Oxygen enters the trachea, bronchial tubes and lungs, and then fills up the air sacs lining the lungs. The air sacs are lined with capillaries-very small thin tubes which carry blood. Oxygen is able to enter the blood through the capillaries and travel throughout the body. Then, we breathe out air, getting rid of the carbon dioxide that we cannot use.

The most under appreciated part of our bodies is our feet, don't you think? We ignore them until they give us pain, and then we would give anything to walk without pain. The intricate bones, muscles and tendons all work together. When my children were babies, I was fascinated by how soft, round and padded the bottoms of their feet were. The feet flatten out and by the time we are old. There is very little padding left on these feet that have walked hundreds of thousands of miles or kilometers.

Even if pouring our bodies into a new swimsuit is very few people's idea of fun, how can we become more comfortable with the body gifts we have been given? Maybe if we try to appreciate the marvelous creations that they are, we will worry less about a bulge here and there. Of course, we are more comfortable with our bodies when we work at taking care of them: develop good eating habits that constantly scale back on food intake as we get older, while increasing exercise (even while we physically may have to slow down). It's just not fair, but that's life.

Remembering what marvelous creations our bodies are helps us get through the ordeal of swimsuit shopping. Remember the line from the Bible: "Don't worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn't life more than food or clothing? Look at the birds in the sky. They don't plant or harvest. Yet God takes care of them. Aren't you worth more than birds?"

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Melodie Davis is the author of seven books and has written her column since 1987. She taught feature writing and has won awards from a number of organizations including the National Federation of Press Women, Virginia Press Women and the American Advertising Association. She and her husband have three growing daughters.

NOTES TO EDITORS: text = 635 words; end material = 105 words

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©2001 by Globe Syndicate, all rights reserved.

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