Our bodies are prophets.

They know when things are out of whack and they say so.

(Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World)

I had surgery a week ago to remove part of a herniated disc that was pressing on my sciatic nerve.

The surgery went well; herniation removed, the nerve is freed, and I am starting to walk again.

Slowly, carefully, mindfully.

Which is almost the exact opposite of how I walked prior to hurting my back.

It is almost the exact opposite of how I gardened, swam, biked, did much of anything, I am afraid.

Oh, I've been trying to slow down -- meditate, appreciate, rest.

But nothing has quite done the trick like a herniated disc.

"Our bodies are prophets," Barbara Brown Taylor says ...

"Yes, I see that now," say I back.

This afternoon I walked past our house and gardens, none of which I have been able to weed one single time this spring.  

And yet as I stood across the street and looked with fresh eyes at my unkempt gardens, you know what I saw?

Pure beauty!

Purple hyacinth like little grape clusters.

Some kind of pink heirloom flower whose name I do not know.

Columbine shooting up through little tufts of wild grasses.

Butterfly weed starting to poke its green shoots through last year's mulch.

Elephant ear hasta piercing the muddy soil.

It was all so gorgeous and green and full of life; it took my breath away!

And I didn't lift one finger (or herniate one disc) to make it so.

It happened. God created it to happen. And every spring without fail it happens all over again.

With or without me.

My body's prophetic message?

"Alice, you don't have to try so hard. Things get on just fine without all your ferocious effort."

My soul breathed a sigh of relief.

What if I really can try softer, rather than harder?

Might not the ragged beauty of this earth be more enjoyable if I surrender the delusion that it is my  tedious toil that makes it so?


The answer to that question, my friends, is yes.