In a new house, in the dark, it takes a while to be able to navigate from one room or floor or piece of furniture to the next. I forgot that. I thought I could make my way from the hallway upstairs and down to the first floor with just a hazy glow of not-quite-pitch-black-darkness in the stairwell. But I misjudged, the heel of my boot caught the first step and I felt myself falling. It would have been a bad fall, I am sure if it, were it not for a split-second decision to catch myself by rolling my right shoulder into the wall.
It was all instinct. And it worked. But my body has been making rounds on this orb for longer than I sometimes remember, and stumbles like the one I took the other day are quick to remind me things are not what they used to be. So I wrenched a shoulder that had already been speaking to me of its disappointment with, well, I don’t know why it’s been so upset with me.
I went to the doctor to see about it. And I’m not telling you this for the medical blow-by-blow because that’s not my style. But you might wonder how I ended up in the gym, listening to the Commodores through earbuds I’d plugged into my phone. I haven’t been to the gym in a while. I’ve had other things on my mind, and when my plate gets full, exercise is one of the first things to go. You too? Maybe that’s why my shoulder had been so upset in the first place.
Usually, I listen to David Crowder or the Brooklyn Tabernacle or Israel Houghton when I’m exercising. But H’s friend sent him a stack of CDs which arrived today in the mail, and so we were jamming out to Earth, Wind, and Fire when we rolled up into the parking lot of the gym. We sat in the car until “Fantasy” ended and into the beginning of the next song and had to pry ourselves away from Philip Bailey’s falsetto stylings to make sure we got our workout in. So, on the treadmill, I cued up the Commodores and hiked up the volume.
Do you know that H and I met at a Commodores concert, back in 1982? You should ask him to tell you the story. It’s a good one. And, at the moment we met, H says Lionel Richie was singing, “Just to be Close to You.” I know the song, but I honestly had never really listened to the lyrics. Do you know them?
After the treadmill, at the gym, I lift weights to strengthen my whiny, achy, stubborn shoulder. H works out on the other side of the gym, getting himself ready for a ski trip he has planned for February. Every now and then, when we’re working out together (but apart from each other), our eyes connect across the room and one of us winks.
I am fully aware of the fact that we’re the oldest ones in the building and gyms, well, they have a culture of their own, don’t they? We have always worked out together, and we have been the young, firm, fit, and fabulous ones running miles or climbing flights of stairs with barely a grunt or a groan. But I am curvier now. And sexier, I think. It’s a sexiness you’d have to know to understand or detect. I’m pretty sure my sexiness is lost on the pretty young things running miles and climbing flights of stairs with barely a grunt or a groan, and I am fine with that.
Because, when I pick up the lighter weights to do twelve reps of lateral raises, I can hear Lionel singing “Just to be Close to You” right into my head. And that’s when H walks by. So, I take one of the earbuds out of my ear and call him over, and I let him have a listen. We laugh out loud. Together. And then we go our separate ways.
But I can see him in the mirror behind me. And when I sit down on the mat to stretch, I turn to catch him watching me from the other side of the room. We’ve still got it. You might not know it, just to look at us, as we lift our tiny weights and walk a little bit slower than the rest of the crew. You wouldn’t know just how solid we feel, even with the space of an entire gym between us. Lionel Richie was singing our theme song, all those years ago.
Today in the gym, I listened to the words for the very first time. Say what you will, but I’m going to put this out there: God works through art that doesn’t fit neatly into the “Christian” section of the bookstores and music playlists. He sees beauty in the places we miss it.
I’m putting my shoulder on ice for a bit. If I’m not careful, I can let my shoulder and my progressive lenses and my gray hairs convince me I’m not in any cool people’s target audience anymore. But, while it has taken all these years to grow a little bit slower, it has also taken all these years to grow a marriage that makes me feel sexy in my not so young and firm and fit body that catches his eye across the room.
Some questions for you: How have you noticed your body changing? What do you think about those changes? Have you defined what sexiness means to you? What did you learn from the church (or the Church) about sexiness? Have you read this book?
OH yes. My body is changing… the eyes must have glasses to read fine print, the feet not as steady as the years past, grey hair threatens to curl around face and oh the stamina is not as high. Have never learned about sexiness in the church, it is topic no one wants to venture into, but I know God made it to be good. And that is all I need to know.
“I know god made it to be good. And that is all I need to know.” So good, Sharon!
I define sexy in the same way that you do but almost in such a way that others would giggle or scratch their heads. Tonight, I defined sexy as Jeff and I sat in our adoption support group together (yes, adoption), holding hands, with him winking at me every now and then. Sexy is understanding that even with shimmering gray streaks in our hair, we are grasping our hearts cries to be parents again. Sexy is watching my husband powerfully preach the word of God with one hand in his pocket and with strength and wisdom from God speaking from his mouth. Sexy is driving through the beauty of the Pacific Northwest listening to my love sing to me in his off key way, Lionel Richey’s Endless Love. Sexy is when he wakes me up in the morning with bed head and he says, “good morning Beautiful”. Others may not define us as the next “sexiest couple of the year” by their standards but with our eyes, that’s what we see and know.
Growing up even the word “sexy” was taboo. To think of it in God terms was almost always depicted as “shameful”. It took years for me to see the beauty in sex and sexiness. Sadly, when sex was mentioned within the church, it was used with the visual word picture “tramp”. Letting go of that perception as an adult was exhilarating and freeing. I love living out the rest of my life, passionately and sexily with my sweetheart that God gifted me with.
Choosing to become parents is sexy Simone. I totally get that.
Adoption! Oh, wow! What a beautiful surprise, Simone!
And, just between you, me, and the gatepost, seeing my husband preach is one of the sexiest things. For real. But, that’s just between us, okay? 😉
Secret is safe 😉
I have a few years on you, like 15+ and my body has changed from the firm, slim athlete to a slightly musher, not quite as slim version but I’m ok with that. If I stand in front of the mirror and squint a little, I still see that girl! My husband sees her even without squinting. He sees me through the eyes of love!!
Haha! I love the idea of standing in from the mirror and squinting. Absolutely! She’s still there, Susan.
Let’s hear it for the grown and sexy crowd. My midlife body isn’t as agile ( I’m having a shoulder thing too) but makes up for that in feeling. My midlife body is “all about” the sexy. I feel sexy and mature and wise. The physical changes have been met with a confidence that surprised me.
The message in church has always been positive (in a marriage relationship).
Yeah, I see you, Lisha! You move through the world with quiet confidence and strength. I think I’d have to put confidence in my definition of sexy. And yes, the confidence is surprising!
Hey old lady… I’m watching you! Ha!! I know you might only have one or two laps up on me. Yes. I’m insisting on embracing the “crown of glory” and all the surprises that go with it. I think wisdom is sexy. The curves are comfortable and add depth and dimension. It’s the sexiness of *knowing* and being fully. faithfully. KNOWN. I was telling a friend at the gym last night that I hurt when I *don’t* work out– it’s now become a necessity to keep things greased and moving! My shoulder is grateful for yours and we shuffle along this road to Glory–I don’t mind if the Commodores play in the background as we go. 🙂
Me too. My body complains when I let it sit around too long.
Your definition of sexy sings to me, Lorretta. Wisdom and comfort with the curves we’re growing into. And yes, being KNOWN. Absolutely.
Ha look at all these sexy ladies! I think I found my “Tribe” 😀
You know I love this! LOVE IT. And it’s true. You know my story better than most, and still this is true for me today. I like my body more than I ever have (which is a miracle right there) and I love being married to the man who made my heart race over 50 years ago. The racing has slowed, but the feelings have deepened. And that’s a very good thing. Thanks for this.
Yes! Liking my body more now than before. Who knew? I have some pictures of myself in a fuschia bikini. The pictures were taken more than twenty years ago, and I’m telling you: I was hot! Hot! But, I didn’t know it then. I thought my hips were too big, and my stomach wasn’t flat or smooth enough. I’ve gone through seasons where I’ve wanted that body back. But now, I realize that body was attached to a different version of me, and I’m not sure I want her back.
EXACTLY. I like what I’ve learned, even the hard stuff. It’s made me me. And whaddya mean ‘was’ hot, honey child. YOU ARE HOT. In the very best sense of that word.
Sorry about the shoulder. I fell down our steps July 3rd. I was carrying Chip and put all of my energy into not dropping him (I didn’t) instead of breaking my fall. Really hurt my tailfeather. It’s still messed up all these months later.
I remember when that happened! Still sore? Oh my.
“But, while it has taken all these years to grow a little bit slower, it has also taken all these years to grow a marriage that makes me feel sexy in my not so young and firm and fit body that catches his eye across the room.”
Well this is just beautiful. All of it. And while I still struggle to accept my body as it is, I get all weepy over how my husband still looks at me after all these years. How we look at one another. And after you spend 10 months apart, let me tell you . . . God did not waste those months apart one bit.
I really love the questions you leave at the end of your post. You have given me ones I must ponder.
Blessings and Merry Christmas! xoxo
Our husbands love us. I think we get all stressed out in our minds over what we think our husbands think about us, when all along, they just love us, exactly as we are.
Colleen Connell Mitchell
I have decimated my shoulder since we moved to Costa Rica and I only dry clothes on the line. I have this terrible habit of piling them all on my left shoulder then lifting my right arm up and over repeatedly to pull each piece up and put it on the line. Now they creek and send shooting pains down my arm on a regular basis. When our chiropractor friend visited he told me it would take him approximately two years of weekly adjustments to undo the damage. Since that isn’t an option, I just keep my poor sad shoulders as a reminder of my vulnerability and that this crazy life I live is all a gift that only He can sustain.
It’s definitely a reminder that we weren’t built to last forever. Not our bodies. So, it keeps me mindful of the fact that life will end, and it keeps me vetting my daily decisions in light of eternity.
this is truly cute. thanks for sharing
I LOVE THIS!!!! I’ve discovered sexiness and it’s come with contentment that I didn’t have for so long when I was all caught up in striving and trying so hard to be someone who I wasn’t naturally. All that effort was so far from sexy, I discovered. And now, with being nearly old yet surprisingly and blessedly pregnant, the curves and all that don’t matter one bit. I’m content. And as my groom says, a happy girl makes for the most beautiful girl. He calls me sexy and most of all, he treats me that way. And by the grace of God I can see the beauty in places where for so long I missed it.
Yeah. I look back and wonder if I was trying too hard. All that effort. But now? This is something new and it’s good, and it’s all about living into me, and not trying to be someone I’m not. That’s sexy.
Commitment is about the sexiest thing I know…..