Marcus Aurelius once wrote “what is divine deserves our respect because it is good; what is human deserves our affection because it is like us”. He believed there were two aspects the existing, and I agree. Each part coming together and granting us with the opportunity to be alive.
When we talk of humanity we often only speak on the abstract or superficial aspects; however there is another portion we don’t discuss. The inner workings, the tendons all grasping for life, the nerves teleporting like lightning across a wire, the chest cavity where all our hopes inhabit. Development is the purest form of art, anatomy being the medium between us and our shells.
The Discovery Place in uptown Charlotte is a 3-D encyclopedia. The walls are full of various subjects such as pH balance, the physics of electromagnetic waves and currently, the human body. Today, I took a trip through the human experience, at least the anatomical version. It began with the development of a fetus that sprouted life after the 8th week. Famous quotes decorated the walls as cadavers were exposed. Displays showcased how each muscle moves in a fluid motion when swinging, or the heart being surrounded by blood vessels.
The exhibit didn’t just teach you about your body, it made you want to love your skin. To appreciate the intricate linings of your nerves, the porous nature of the femur and the butterfly wing shaped lungs. Examining one part was enlightening; however true grace was found when seeing all the organs work together in harmony. Our bodies will be the best thing we ever create, so we should cherish them. Our personal temple, the resting place for a weary soul traveling to eternity. Meet the body.
*Overheard at Discovery Place: Death has been banished from our consciousness – Unknown Voice in 70’s Video on Plastination Process*
Just when I thought my adventure had ended, I realized that just like Marcus said, humanity was two parts.
After leaving Discovery Place, my curious comrade Samantha, mentioned her desire to make gift bags for the homeless; to help with the incoming winter. Samantha was the one who recommended the Discovery Place visit, finding time for a quick adventure before school starts.
“Let’s do it now, right now”
“Really? Hell yeah!”
A quick trip to Family Dollar armed with a $20 dollar budget got us water bottles, notebook paper & pens, acetaminophen, and some knitted wear.
*overheard at Family Dollar: Mom, can we buy this coloring book? I really want one. Sorry baby, Mommy will come back another day, she only has enough for the things in her cart: oatmeal, water, sheets. – Unknown African- American Mother & Child*
The essentials to warm both the body and soul. We embarked through the streets of Charlotte with plastic bags in hand, our eyes searching for those to help. A woman approached, asking for money to get her and her daughter a bus pass. $5 was traded for her photo, the joy still forming in her eyes.
Another was blessed with a bag, during an afternoon nap at the bus station. Sam offered to place the bag with her stuff instead of moving to the next, sometimes you can be blessed because you rest. That unexpected gift may bring a smile once awake.
Lastly, a woman named Nancy was our final customer for the day. Sam approached her and offered the bag in exchange for a quick chat. Our conversation was cut short but I don’t think words would even matter. The actions of strangers can sometimes fill a heart more than empty words.
The dust and divine. Atoms and the breath of God. Both coming together for a brief stint of time, forming a new being. Human.
The day ended with a beautiful sunset, as we pondered what we just witnessed. The more we learned of the body, the easier it was to understand the spirit. Did our re-discovery of blood vessels and spinal cords prompt us to willingly serve the community? An impromptu moment became a blessing for others. The best part of it all, we didn’t waste time. We realized that in this moment we could make a difference, instead of waiting and possibly never reaching it. We took the leap, and the jump was worth the risk.
Our inner beauty helps us interpret the external world. As the horizon became a slurry of peach and purple, the thought came…why were we blessed with such a gift? Why was a collection of carbon and calcium given the chance to move freely through the other molecules; to not only interact but interpret. Maybe there are answers that can only be found within, after seeing what is truly on the inside?
My personal divine is desire to aid as many other mixtures of cells and dreams wrapped in skin, before my lungs burst. I do not know if I will succeed, however in this moment, I realized this body may be mine, but this spirit belongs to God.
What is your personal divine?
*If you are interested in learning more about the complexity of the human body without the anatomy class, pick up a copy of “Adventures In Human Being” by Gavin Francis.*