It was only two weeks ago that I was riding in the car with my husband, gazing across the coal-tinted, snow sprinkled flint hills, thinking about the miracle of my healing from anorexia. I was reveling in the glory of the transformation of my life. My last four years have been nothing short of awe-inspiring. I’m stunned by my freedom. I was struggling to attribute my healing to something that I had done or hadn’t done, but I came up empty-handed. Maybe it was a culmination of all of the years of work, empowered by the power of the Spirit and prayers of those committed to me. My husband asked why I was so reluctant to accept it as a miracle. I decided that accepting my healing as a miracle took it out of my control and caused my to feel scared and vulnerable. What if the miracle decides to fly away as swiftly as it descended? How can I retain it?
Just four days after our reflective drive through the glorious hills of Kansas, I ventured to the mall to spend some Christmas money on myself. I rarely buy clothes retail, and spend very little time in dressing rooms. I was glad to get some moments away, however, and sales are the best in January. I don’t just buy clothing on sale. It has to be a sale piled on a sale, like 60 percent off clearance. I found some good sales, squared! In the dressing rooms, however, faced with the reality of full-length mirrors, I was met with a figure that I recognized from years past, before the healing and growth of the child-bearing.
The curves have disappeared. My boobs are gone, and the angles of bones have pushed their way back into prominence. I sucked in deeply as I recognized the body in the mirror, edging back into the dangerous underweight zone. Part of me recoiled in sadness at what illness has done to my body and resolved to work to restore health. Another part reveled in the angles and blushed with pleasure at the bones.
I came home and approached one of the most reliable mirrors that I know: my husband. I told him of the visage in the dressing rooms and asked him if it was true. Am I withering again? He said, “are you kidding me? Yeah. I’ve been trying to tell you for a while.”
Well, shoot. How did I miss that??
As the days have progressed, and I have gone to other mirrors, including my dietician and friends, the conclusion has been reached: my weight has declined. I’m approaching dangerous territory. My intake has been solid, but still not enough. It’s not necessarily the eating disorder that brought me here, but it would be eating disordered to resist the help that is being offered to get me out.
My mind is still more whole than ever. Instead of being primarily delighted at weight loss, it grieves me. I feel sad when someone says that I’ve lost weight. Honestly. I haven’t been intentionally restricting, so my behavior is miles from where it was four years ago. The miracle is secure.
I do have responsibility to maintain the ground that I have covered. Now that I know, I can’t claim ignorance. That was bliss, and now I know better. I have to eat more. Intentionally. It is not enough to claim that I’m sad about the weight loss. If I stay there and don’t move, then I might be insincere.
It’s not all lost. This is the journey. These are the undulations of the rhythm of healing. Miracles, I believe, are often less linear than we might imagine. They sometimes involve our cooperation and faith. God is why I am healed and continue to heal, and I am charged with the stewardship of tending to the healing. What an exciting calling! And we continue…