Tonight, I am painfully aware of my own imperfections. These things made tangible–not only in the series of this week’s events, but physically, outwardly, as I consider the blemishes I’ve incurred in the last succession of days. While making dinner last night, my hand slipped as I put the chicken into the oven, I spilled marinade in every crack and crevice possible, and I burned my arm on the oven door as I hastily attempted to recover the dish. A few hours and an ice pack later, a nice, strawberry red burn sat, slightly swollen, on my forearm. A few nights back, in a feeble effort to avoid stepping on the dog in the dark, I felt my way along the wall, underestimated, and smacked my head and brow bone on a hard corner. I did indeed miss the dog, but I’m still bruised from the encounter.
Wait. There’s more? Mmmhmm. This is kind of a week where it just keeps coming. While running these past few months, I’ve incurred a persistent, irritable muscle pain that’s trouble whether I’m mobile or stationery. And the past few nights have been record-setting for mosquito bites, whose itchy reminders seem to be lingering extra long this week. A mish mash of colorful/painful/troubling little incidents indeed.
Now, I’m not at all trying to complain about random, everyday, minor things happening to me by accident, nor do I expect the leftover marks to last for very long…it’s just that I’m struck by the irony of these outward flaws and their timing in my life. The trouble with all these little bumps and aches isn’t so much the bumps themselves, but rather the constant physical reminders of how I’m actually feeling right now–clumsy, blemished, uncertain, irritable, imperfect. It has been a very challenging few weeks…
So I’m trying to be real with myself, and as real with the world around me as is appropriate in a variety of situations. Of course there’s the importance of guarding people and relationships carefully, and of course there is a certain level of decorum with which I hope to operate under most circumstances. But just as my latest bruises and burn and bites are all apparent to the naked eye, I’m inclined to feel like it’s OK to bare some of my inward marks as well. This is just me being honest. For me. For the sake of someone reading this who feels like they have to maintain a certain façade in their own life–whatever that may look like at this particular moment. Because sometimes life gets bumped and banged up hard enough that it leaves a strawberry red mark, an irritation, a deep bruise. And sometimes it requires healing. And sometimes that starts just by acknowledging that it exists, is painful, might take longer than desired. I’m right there with you.
Sure, I could cover up the nicks and bites, put makeup over a black and blue bedtime souvenir, bandage the burn. But for now, that seems like too much effort–and for whom? I just feel like letting them be, and letting them be visible. I feel like being real, and imperfect. I feel like loving myself anyway, or trying harder to, at least. I aspire to be a lot of things a lot of the time, and I probably need to leave room on my plate for an extra measure of grace these days. Grace that covers over, not covers up. Grace that is a far better salve than something from the medicine cabinet, and the kind that provides far more authentic healing when applied liberally to a wound.