I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Roger Butts’s reflection and poem I Will Look. And I Will Sing.
After decades of playing tennis, my knees hurt. After being in the car driving down a Colorado interstate, my back aches. My eyes don’t see so well after being alive 58 years. Sometimes I wonder how my arthritis will play out over time. I’m a hospital chaplain. I know this old body decomposes. I know it gets creaky. Some of us are in wheelchairs and are behind walkers. Some of us are spritely and young. We all have such gifts and talents and dreams and visions. And we are tied to these vessels we call our bodies. What a wild ride. And so when I wake up I do a little body prayer, checking in with all these different parts of my body. And I remind each what their role is in helping me to notice the sacred event in each thing I encounter.
I Will Look. And I Will Sing. Today, I will hold my eyeball, gently in my hand. First, of course I’ll say thank you. This is enough. But then I’ll remind eyeball That all we see today is more sacred than we can guess. I will hold my tongue. Help me sing today a song of praise: “God In that slimy frog and that blazing sun We love and adore you.” And I will hold my heart, My beat and beating heart, And say, “Thank you. You can look too. You know I can’t see without you.” I will take my hands in my hands. And I will hold and bless them. “Look how you Engage the world. Look how you help. You can look too. I can’t see without you.” And today I will hold my feet in my hands. Caress and knead and bless. You’ve taken us to such great places, Without you, who even am I? And I will look. And I will sing. And I’ll beat. And I’ll touch. And I’ll dance and I’ll dance some more. What other prayer would suffice?
Roger Butts is a hospital chaplain in Colorado. He wrote Seeds of Devotion. While he is a Unitarian Universalist, his beloved Marta Fioriti is a pastor in the United Church of Christ. They have two black labs and three young adult children.