There is a mindset, I believe, that many people have when it comes to the care of their bodies. I liken It being in possession of a rental car.
Good intentions be damned…
When we pick up a rental car in preparation for a road trip, we usually take a moment to appreciate what we have just been trusted with. Generally, we receive rental cars in great condition. We know the fluids, the gas tank, and the tires are all full. We know it’s been thoroughly checked over so that we don’t worry about its performance. We get in and are proud to be seen in it. It’s just like driving a brand new car, without scratching the $25,000 check. We drive away with our head held high.
We feel so appreciative of what we have that we make a subconscious pact to take good care of it while it’s in our possession. Then, the road trip begins…
At some point we need to stop and get gas. While paying for gas, our eyes are tempted by the pink Hostess Snowballs at the checkout line. The small can of Redbull in the bucket of ice also looks tempting as we enter our pin code into the debit card reader. Hey, it’ll help to help keep us alert during the trip.
Back on the road and after the second Snowball is consumed, and not really having a formal trash bag in the car, we crumple the wrapper from the Snowball and throw it on the floor in front of the passenger seat. A whisk of the fingertips gets the remainder of the pink coconut crumbs from our lap onto the floor in front of the driver’s seat. Three swallows and the Redbull is gone. Crush. Toss the can over our shoulder into the backseat where it lands and rolls onto the floor.
Gonna be a long trip…
Later in the day we stop for lunch. Taco Bell, sweet! The drive-through is quick and times a wastin’. Immediately back on the road, a few more crumpled wrappers on the floor, some spilled Dr Pepper on the console, and no thoughts about it really. Hey, it’s a rental car — they’ll clean it up when we turn it in.
Stopping for the night at the Super 8 motel, and in a hurry to get to the room for the free HBO, we yank the suitcase from the back of the car too quickly, putting a slight tare in the door panel. Hey, it’s not our door panel. We can tell the rental agency that it was there when we picked the car up. How are they gonna prove otherwise…?
By the end of the road trip, the floor is covered with fast food wrappers, there are stains all over the armrests and console from spilled drinks, there are a few more scratches and dings on the vinyl interior than were previously there, and there’s been no attempt to clean any of it up. Hey, that’s what those lot boys get paid for — cleaning up after our trespasses.
This brief description how many people treat rental cars is how I see many people treating their bodies; as vehicles for forgivable sin to be cleaned up later, but by who…?
What undermines this even more, is people’s belief in God, and an afterlife beyond this body.
When we get to heaven, of course, we don’t have a body. That, or we get a brand new one with unlimited miles and layer upon layer of Scotchgard. Live it up while we’re here, yes…?
What also undermines this just as much, is people’s disbelief in God and disbelief in a life beyond this body.
Hey, no afterlife — we’re just going to get eaten by maggots anyway. Live it up while we’re here, yes…?
In the end, I guess both sides are right. The body is just a loaner. No need to turn it in in tact, so long as it gets us through this road trip of life.
I’m not trying to sound too preachy here, Lord knows I’ve thrown some Taco Bell wrappers on the floor of my body. I do think though, that the metaphor is legit.
The road trip of life is a long haul. And yes, if we have good health insurance it’s the equivalent of roadside assistance. But maybe, just maybe, the whole point of roadside assistance is never having to use it, by virtue of taking care of the rental car that is us.
Myself, I do believe in an afterlife, though I can’t say for sure what that involves. I don’t believe the body I have now, or possibly an body at all will be part of my afterlife, so there is that temptation to run this body into the ground knowing that I’ll carry on without it.
While I’m here though, I’ve come to appreciate the way that taking care of this body has served me. And if that sounds a bit preachy, forgive me, but it’s what I do for a living, and at least part of why you decided to read this… Jhciacb
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