By The Breast

Last weekend was the 31st anniversary of my grandmother’s death from breast cancer, a disease that she fought, along with hundreds and thousands of other women around the world. My sister is running here to raise money in Vancouver shortly. She ran first in Indiana with my Aunty Val who runs a breast clinic type scenario there. In just a couple of weeks I’m visiting a dear friend who has encountered the disease this year.

Growing up in a family of women, it’s hard not to associate our breasts with our feminine identity. I’m not one of those girls that gets indignant about propriety either. Just about any pair in the world has an uncanny ability to grab attention one way or another on any given day.

I’ve been thinking recently, watching a friends teenager growing with the signs of pregnancy, other young girls in the youth group growing into their adulthood and all that entails, how spiritual the connection between body and soul can really be.

Especially because of all that the breast represents; conflicting images of pleasure, life, beauty, sex, womanhood, strength, vulnerability, dependence, desire, nurture, sustenance. I think about how these things are both physical and spiritual. Partly they are physical and present by way of our own enacting or being, but they are also spiritual because of our character and intention behind these things.

Could it be that the spirit and nature of our divinely created womanhood finds genuine expression in our physicality – not just in the functionality but the presence? These parts of my body that interact with my conscious mind and feedback the condition of my own self? I am imagining, as with men also, our soul stretching out and filling all the physical property we pertain to it…

So when this intimate part of a physical/spiritually connected self is involved in any act – breastfeeding, sex, illness, even day to day posture and image.. surely that related to the Imageo Dei that we see within ourselves.

I am wondering, how to help with the healing of that image. How to help mould the spirit and soul to it’s new form. How bring purpose and space back to the functionality of the spiritual nature of nurture, sexuality etc. Not there is any healing in me beyond deep, soft words – but there is a walking I can do alongside, and a holding of hands.

I do this for my mother, my sisters, my grandmother, the many women of my family and for my friends. I wonder about my future – children to be feed and loved at my breast, a husband to be satisfied always. I think about life, bodies, spirit, soul .. and I find myself amazed at science and beauty. What is life that we fight for it, rage for it, cling to it… but the opportunity to love over and over?

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
— Dylan Thomas

What do you think?