"As Francis grew older, he regretted the harsh treatment he had given Brother Ass all through his life. Before his conversion he had pampered and spoiled his body, and afterwards he had ignored and taken Brother Ass for granted. They were partners, really, and should have supported one another on the Journey. ... Lately, 'Brother Ass' had become a distasteful name. Francis preferred 'Brother Body,' which was more reverent and indicated the respect that his body had won in his eyes.
"Furthermore, Francis no longer saw his body as something apart from him. He was his body; the spirit and the body were one. ... [He] looked at his own flesh and smiled at how compatible it seemed now. How patient and long-suffering his poor body had been. With an act of will he now made the body his. He called it by his own name, 'Francis'. He was one Francis, within and without." (Murray Bodo, OFM; Francis: The Journey and the Dream, p. 76)
I, too, am guilty of treating my body as 'Sister Ass'. I frequently think Dark And Grumbly Thoughts about its physical imperfections, limitations, and annoyances, especially since I've begun running again. But while out running today, I came a step closer to becoming one, within and without.
During today's run/walk, I'd planned on only upping the running/walking repetitions (1 minute walking, 1 minute running, repeat for 10 minutes total) from 10 minutes to 15. But I was feeling good and decided to see if I could stretch it out to 20 minutes ... and I did, easily. My feet, legs, and lungs all cooperated and actually went along with the crazy idea. "Oh, you wanna keep going? Well, OK, we can do that."
As I wound down with 10 minutes of straight walking, I was overcome with feelings of gratitude and amazement. My body, my annoying, totally non-perfect body, was working with me! It was adapting, responding to the demands I put on it, doing what it could with what it had to meet what was asked of it.
The elation from that realization was stronger and more powerful than what I felt when, years ago, I first managed to run for 30 minutes straight. Because for the first time in my life, I saw my body as Sister Body. As ... me. And I wept for the joy, the glory, the gift of it all.