Found Object: Body

[Crosswalk, January 2000]

Here we are. Over the doorstep and into a dazzling new millennium, fraught with magnificence and fear, and perhaps with consequence — hard to tell at this point. At any rate, we feel pretty dazzled and quite self-important. We’re alive *now*! What an achievement! What did we win?

At this shimmering moment it’s embarrassing to confess that I seem to be in a body. That may seem unlikely in this buzzing electronic context, but take my word for it. In fact, I’m sitting here pretty much surrounded by physical objects. I think God’s trying to tell me something.

I sit at a 150-yr-old farm table that my father and I refinished twenty years ago. On top is a year-old computer; it’s more obsolete than the table. What a jumble is strewn around the computer’s base: stamps, tape, stapler, mouse, coffee cup, old glass bottles, post-it notes, pens, a small painted horse, hair clips, phone, and perched on the lamp base a small icon of the Virgin of Vladimir. The flowers my husband gave me last week are slowly shedding petals over all. It looks like an aerial view of traffic around the L’Arc de Triomphe.

The turn of a millennium should be a moment for lofty thoughts; with a little effort I could be paralyzed by considerations of my first column for Crosswalk, my first writing of the century, my first, oh shoot, I broke a nail. I am plagued by delusions of significance, but physical reality keeps dragging me back to earth. No matter how impressive I look on screen, in realtime I’m stubbornly imbedded in something short, chubby, graying, and forty-seven years old. (Well, my husband says I’m beautiful.)  Somehow this undeniably upholstered state we find ourselves in is God’s idea; we will not be saved without it. We have things to learn from it.
One of my favorite humor writers, Richard Armour, described a character in a fairy tale as disappearing into thin air, “making it slightly thicker.” I hope to consider in this space manifestations of the humbling and exhilarating real world we all share, and to glean from these some insight into our age and time, where we are and where we’re going to wind up. I hope to solidify the vaporous world of the internet somewhat, ideally, “making it somewhat thicker.” So, once a week — a “Found Object.”

About Frederica Mathewes-Green

Frederica Mathewes-Green is a wide-ranging author who has published 10 books and 800 essays, in such diverse publications as the Washington Post, Christianity Today, Smithsonian, and the Wall Street Journal. She has been a regular commentator for National Public Radio (NPR), a columnist for the Religion News Service,, and Christianity Today, and a podcaster for Ancient Faith Radio. (She was also a consultant for Veggie Tales.) She has published 10 books, and has appeared as a speaker over 600 times, at places like Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Wellesley, Cornell, Calvin, Baylor, and Westmont, and received a Doctor of Letters (honorary) from King University. She has been interviewed over 700 times, on venues like PrimeTime Live, the 700 Club, NPR, PBS, Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times. She lives with her husband, the Rev. Gregory Mathewes-Green, in Johnson City, TN. Their three children are grown and married, and they have fourteen grandchildren.

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