When I saw the trailer for director Michael Sucsy’s Every Day, I expected to experience a movie about how love doesn’t have gender and racial boundaries. Its premise is interesting: a genderless being known only as “A” wakes up every day in a different body. That person might be male or female, but is always A’s age. A inhabits that person’s life for one day, and then goes back to sleep, only to wake in someone else’s life.

A is content to live a nomadic life. But then A meets Rhiannon (Angourie Rice) after inhabiting her boyfriend’s body. A falls for Rhiannon and spends the next few days trying to get close to her and find a way to tell her about the strange phenomenon of a temporal life.

In the film, Rhiannon learns to see through outward trappings into the person inside—a person who never matches the external since they are “out” for the day. She and A meet up every day, choosing each other even when A’s appearance isn’t the same.

There is something lovely, especially in a movie marketed to teens (it’s based on a young adult novel by David Levithan), about a message that encourages decisions about relationships based on something more than external appearance. But as I watched, I realized there was something missing for me.

It’s one thing to commit to a romantic partner, loving them for their essence, knowing that their appearance will change. If we choose to commit to anyone, this is what we sign up for. We grow to love things about them that others might not be drawn to—this is the nature of loving someone with a body. But the bodies we are in matter.

I think it matters that you are exactly your height, with exactly your vision of the world. At just over 5 feet, 2 inches tall, I see things differently than my 6-foot brother does. It matters whether our hair is curly or straight and if we bite our nails. It matters how we walk, laugh and what we do with our hands when we’re nervous. All of these things and more shape the way we see the world and the way the world sees us. All of these things make us who we are.

What is love if not embracing someone in their entirety?

As believers, we must embrace the idea that our bodies are intentional. God had a choice about how we would inhabit the world. We could have been like A, traveling from body to body, never touching down, but that isn’t what happens. Instead, we live our lives inside one body, completely specific to us. Through our body, we filter the world. I can’t believe that God didn’t do this with great intentionality. After all, there were so many other options.

I’m all for stories that seek to promote love for a great swath of people. We should be open to loving people with a variety of physical appearances, people who don’t fit into the box of who we expect to have in our circles. I appreciated Every Day for that unexpected element: Who will Rhiannon love today? But what is love if not embracing someone in their entirety?

Who knows what heaven may bring, but at least for now the body comes along with the soul. Having a body was important enough for Jesus to inhabit one.

There are so many messages in our culture telling us what’s wrong with our bodies. We are too fat or thin, too tall or short, too covered with hair or not covered with it enough. Who among us has not wished something about our physical bodies were different at one time or another? There is such pressure to fit into a predetermined mold. But we don’t.

Each of us is unique; there is no such thing as ideal. When God dreamed us up, God dreamed us in our bodies. When those we love interact with us, they interact with us in our bodies. And when we reach out, we do so with our own precious, specific bodies. They are not merely a shell. These bodies of ours matter.

Every Day is available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD from Amazon Video and iTunes this month.

Cara Strickland
Strickland writes about food and drink, singleness, faith and mental health from her home in the Northwest (carastrickland.com).

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