Monday, November 11, 2013

Zits and Other Hidden Blessings

Being the youngest of three children, I observed and longed to experience the milestones that occurred in the lives of my brother and sister. One of those anticipated events was a right of passage through high school—Senior Pictures. I had never had a studio picture made, other than the yearly school picture taken by the same photographer year after year when we were herded through like cattle. I wanted to have a real grown-up photograph so my 8 x 10 would fill the space my mother left on the wall beside my older siblings.
As the day approached, I remember choosing my blue velvet dress and borrowing my sister-in-law’s silver cross necklace. I spent months growing my hair out to a longer length, and then cut it off at the last minute. I even parted with some of my hard-earned salary from Noll’s CafĂ© to get the perfect tease at the local beauty shop. Everything was going to be perfect—I thought.
On the morning of my studio appointment, I woke to find the Mount Everest of zits between my nose and upper lip. After a few minutes of panic and tears, I made attempts to cover it with makeup. No luck. Finally, I resigned myself to the fact that my pictures would be ruined. For all time, people would look at the yearbook and feel sorry for the girl with the nice smile and the deformed growth. I found out later the photographer would take out all flaws. Still, I knew the zit was there and the proofs were hideous!
The blemish stayed in its very prominent place for a little while and then it disappeared—forever, I thought.
I have a theory about zits. I think once they have made their way to the surface of your skin, they only go away for a while. Then when some special event is about to occur, they rear their ugly heads—just to keep you humble.
Those ugly red bumps are a nuisance but can also be a blessing.
A blessing?
Tell teenagers that zits are a blessing and they may experience whiplash from intense eye rolling.
The blessing comes in the message the body is sending. “Pay attention to me. Take care of me.”
Our bodies were created to function in a miraculous way. Think of the miracles that occur every time you take a breath, eat an apple, or even have a headache. With every breath, there is an exchange of poisonous carbon dioxide that you breathe out, for the oxygen your organs so desperately need. When you eat an apple, digestion begins even before you swallow. Those are easy to see as miracles, but a zit or a headache? Yes, our bodies give us signals when something needs extra attention—hence a blessing in disguise.
When my face starts breaking out, it’s a wake-up call for me to make some changes in my life—diet, more sleep, maybe change soaps. When I feel physical and even emotional

pain, I can mask it only so long with medication, then I’d better pay attention or the signals will get stronger.
Several years ago, my body decided I had ignored it long enough and sent enough signals to put me in the hospital two times for a total of eight days. My busy schedule and many commitments all stopped. My body had finally gotten my attention.
It wasn’t convenient.
It wasn’t fun.
It was downright depressing. I was forced to re-evaluate my priorities, simplify my life, and realize what was truly important.
I once heard someone say, “The thing about zits is once your face clears up, your mind starts to go.”
I haven’t had any zits lately—I wonder what that means.

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