When I went to the ob/gyn last month, the sign above their scale read, “Remember: This number does not define who you are.” The handwritten note was signed with a smiley face, painter’s tape holding it to the wall.
Go find yourself a doctor who believes this to be true.
(I mean it. Go right now.)
When I read that sign, I laughed, suddenly not caring what the scale read.
Although I tell myself daily that what I weigh doesn’t matter, for some reason stepping on the doctor’s scale is still one of the most memorable moments of my year.
It was memorable this year, too, not because of the number, but because of that sign. That one little sign changed how honest I have been this past month with myself and with others. Friends, for the first time in forever, my driver’s license will no longer read my aspirational weight, but my actual weight. If that is not a minor miracle, I do not know what is.
Surprisingly, that little sign got me thinking about my faith.
If the number on the scale does not define who we are, why am I having such a difficult time finding images of full bodied female Saints?
Is it true that not even one woman of an average or above-average sized body has made it to Sainthood?
Because, listen, I can barely make it through Lent without going back on my Lenten promise. Trying to skinny down this body as a part of my quest for Sainthood in God’s eyes is simply not going to happen.
My body sits happily at its desired weight. Sometimes I lose weight, sometimes I gain it, but my body always finds a way to bring me back home to where it likes to live. Who am I to tell it otherwise?
If my body knows what’s best for me, there must be at least one woman Saint out there who also trusted her body. There must be a Saint who cared more about God than about meeting a feminine ideal. A Saint who did not fulfill the modern feminine ideal of thinness. Right?
Our lives are not lived in the spiritual realm. We sit squarely here on earth, body and soul. Is finding a Saint who I can physically relate to, too much to ask?
Here in America, we have finally started to move away from images of a white Jesus (because, let’s be honest, it is unlikely Jesus was a blue-eyed blond), so can we please start including images of Saints whose bodies may be more representative of their actual lives?
(p.s. – Modern Saints by Gracie is already doing this very thing beautifully, but I’d love to see more images like hers make it into the Catholic mainstream. We deserve to know what is true: that we can all be Saints, not despite how we look, but because our bodies are a beautiful part of who we are.)