It’s Amazing That Our Bodies Function

Spending time around my grandfather as he is dying pushes my thinking in interesting ways. One of those ways is about how amazing it is that bodies function, and how resilient they are.

Judaism has a specific blessing about this (arguably, Judaism has a specific blessing for everything), and it’s a blessing that has spoken to me for many years.

Blessed are you, Divine One, our God, nature’s rulemaker, who formed humanity in wisdom, and created within us openings and channels. It is evident and known that should one of these openings be closed when it should be open, or open when it should be closed, we would be unable to stand before you. Blessed are You, Divine One, healer of all flesh and worker of wonders.

It is known, colloquially, as the bathroom blessing, since it is recited, among other times, when one relieves oneself (it is also a part of the litany of blessings recited each morning upon getting up).

For me, this blessing has always drawn attention to the miracle of the intricacy of the human body. How everything fits together, and, for the most part, functions without our conscious attention. How, until the advent of computers, it would have been impossible for humans to design a system this complex (which is not to say that I believe that we were “designed” by a conscious deity, merely that we could not have designed something like ourselves, which nature did). I have always seen it as a reminder of the delicacy of the human body, the fragility of our inner workings.

As I watch my grandfather slipping slowly down his final road, however, I am, ironically,  reminded just how robust the human body is. Even as his body is riddled with a cancer which does not belong, and squeezes out the organs which do, his body continues to function. His brain, for the most part, continues to function, albeit with the occasional fault. Our bodies are remarkably fault-tolerant, to use the language of technology. And somehow, I find this fault-tolerance an even greater occasion for wonder.

Blessed is the one who heals flesh and works wonders.

Advertisements

3 Responses to “It’s Amazing That Our Bodies Function”

  1. Rabbi Joe Blair Says:

    Amen.

    David, liminal times/moments are among the most instructive I have ever experienced – often hard lessons, but the most meaningful and important; times of encountering deep truth(s).

    May your grandfather’s journey be one filled with comfort and love, and may you and your family find comfort in your time with him, and with each other.

  2. PDX Breakfast Says:

    […] What is this PDXBreakfast thing anyway? Apropos of my last post, there were many references to Paul’s love of breakfast at his memorial this past weekend (I will add a link to the memorial once it gets put online). Thursday, April 21st is technically a #PDXBreakfast morning, but I will not be there to rally the troops because I am in Boston supporting family as my grandfather-in-law gets ready to leave this world (you can read more about the situation here and here). […]

  3. realsupergirl Says:

    Lovely blessing. Thank you. I was not familiar with that one.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: