November 2019 - Fairy Godmothers

Dear friends

Some years ago, in a former parish, my wife and I set up a toddler group. Nothing too revolutionary there, but it was a good excuse to gather parents, along with their offspring, and take our own minion too. It was great fun.

Most of the parents, as you might imagine, were young mothers (apart from the ex-special forces chap who rather ramped up the alpha-male presence in the room!). These mums were finding their way in parenting, as we were, and coping with the many changes that motherhood was wreaking on their lives. They were tired, they were often on maternity leave or being a full-time parent, and they didn't always feel good about themselves, their parenting skills, or indeed their appearance. And then something happened...

In the town, a new clothes shop opened, specialising in the delicate wares of ladies. One by one the mums discovered and explored and patronised this new facility. And it was always known who had been there when they would enter the church where the group met, and they came in with a new-found confidence and assurance. The other mums would admire now as, once being properly measured and fitted, a whole new sureness possessed these women. The transformation, not simply to their shape and style but to their whole self-perception, was so magical that the new shop owner was given the glorious title of the 'Tit Fairy'!

Everything that happens to us happens to our bodies, good and bad. Beauty and shame, ageing and love, the vicissitudes of life make their own imprint. At worst, our bodies become our enemies, and we become distanced from them, believing them to be against us, unlovely or, at its worst, dirty. But that source of life and wholeness and delight is in our bodies. Nourished and nurtured, pampered and preened, to love our body is to embrace life in all its wholeness. To be present in our own bodies as we walk, bathe, make love, eat and breathe, is to come home to ourselves.

The Divine chose to become human because human is good. To be at home in our bodies is to be close to the one who made it. Flesh and blood is where it is at, where heaven and earth meet. So may your own fairy godmother (or whoever you need) help you to glory in your body, and bring you joy in the person of flesh you are made to be.

Nick Bird

Your Parish Priest

This letter from Revd Nick Bird appeared in the November 2019 issue of The Grapevine