“Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we many make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the earth.’” Genesis 11:4
In her recent book, Whispers of Hope, Beth Moore translated the Tower of Babel story into a modern day parable. She likened the Babel builders to the many people who have attempted to climb Mount Everest.
“The spend fortunes, suffer all manner of maladies, risk relationships, and endanger life and limb. They experience a level of cold no average person can imagine to trudge past frozen bodies. But do you know what mystifies me most? If they make it to the top, they can’t even enjoy the thrill of victory. Their heads pound. They’re disoriented. Their lungs nearly collapse. They suffer snow blindness. They stand on top of the famed Mount Everest for five minutes and begin a hasty descent while they can still breathe. Why do they do it? For the sheer accomplishment of climbing to the highest peak on earth and the accompanying notoriety. Ironically, by the time they achieve the goal, most of them can’t even remember their names.”
I wrote furiously up the margin of the page, around the top, over the title and finally pulled out my tattered journal to keep going. Comparing myself to a thrill-seeking, glory-hound is not exactly complimentary, but the similarities are there nonetheless.
My years with an eating disorder could also explain the Tower of Babel in modern terms. For nearly 15 years, a transcript of my thoughts would have read, “I will build a body of perfection. I will create myself in the image of ideal beauty. Then people will know me, admire me, remember me, envy me.”
And with focused abandon I risked relationships, physical injury and even my life to that end. The difference between Beth’s Everest example and my own is that I could never reach the pinnacle, there was no definition of success. I could never become my own creator. No one ever asked me to help them become anorexic. In fact, no one ever looked at my emaciated body with admiration and asked me to help them create the “ideal body”.
Praise God, just like at the Tower of Babel, He came down into my little, broken life and scattered the pieces. He revealed to me the danger of my course, healed me, and like the good Creator that He is, gave me again the “perfect body” He intended for me.
Today, I am in the process of building a legacy, of leaving a mark on the world. Almost daily, God sends me people who ask how I overcame anorexia, who helped me to heal and will I pray for them.
Today, my actions center around loving God with all my heart and learning to love others as He loves me. His glory, His name is the mark I want to leave on the world.