Credit where credit is due: today’s post comes with a nod to the Beloved, who walked out to breakfast this morning with toilet paper stuck to his face, the remnants of a shaving battle that he apparently lost. He burst forth, “I have your next blog post. It’s called ‘Don’t Shave a Scab.’ ” He said it was up to me to make that seem spiritual, and returned to the all-consuming business of clotting.
This inspiration sent me into a rather jarring flashback to my early days of leg shaving. When I was in 8th grade, I played a lot of basketball and spent the last half of a season playing with the high school team at the small private school I was attending at the time (side note: I wasn’t brilliant. They were desperate). It was pointed out to me with less delicacy than perhaps was warranted that my legs looked like those of a Wookie, and in my desire to be one of the team, I took to shaving my legs and have basically have not stopped bleeding ever since.
In those days, athletic socks were an art form. The really cool girls wore 2 tall socks, one strategically scrunched down over the first one, having absolutely nothing to do with blister prevention and everything to do with looking cool. In retrospect, I’m not sure why we thought that looked so fashionable… it matters not. It was a thing. I tell you this that you might appreciate the volume of blood involved when I tell you that one of my first shaving attempts led to such a massive cut around my Achille’s heel that it bled through a bandage, 2 thick pairs of cotton socks (scrunched and stacked no less), and completely soaked my shoe. It is amazing that I didn’t pass out from the blood loss. You might say that my attempts to not stick out failed rather tremendously. The older girls looked horrified (I didn’t have any tattoos at 13, so I’m not sure why they looked at me like they were going to get some form of hepatitis just by standing in proximity to my blood, but I suppose we all have knee-jerk responses that aren’t strictly logical. I cracked a joke. Also not a strictly logical response), and it did not endear me to the team.
Sadly, the shaving adventures were doomed to get worse from there. Within a few weeks of this incident, I managed to shave my shin so badly that it did not even bother to regrow any hair for several years. A blessing in disguise, really, for it protected at least one part of my body from the deadly razor for a time.
(Side note: Even after all of my diligence to thoroughly explore the topic, I remain undecided as to what bodily fluids are the least acceptable in athletic settings. I mean, if you play sports with women who have had children, someone is leaking something pretty much all the time. I took up roller derby in my early 30’s, having no idea how to roller skate and not being admirably fit, and I was also still nursing my youngest. I recall doing a running drill of some kind and having yet another less than tactful athlete point to my shirt and ask me if that was breastmilk or boob sweat. Upon following her gaze, I discovered that one of my larger than life boobs had indeed escaped its boundaries and I had what was probably a fairly disturbing combination of both milk and sweat staining my shirt. Not much to do beyond shrugging and tucking the girls back into their bra, and obviously adopting the universally appreciated method of running with my arms crossed, a hand firmly gripping each boob to keep them from getting squirrely again, or from taking out an eye.)
Seeing my husband there in the kitchen, attempting to retain some of the life blood in his face (I mean, you’ve got to save the good stuff for selling at plasma donation centers, amiright?) put me in mind of all the gentleness that is required when dealing with the wide variety of scabs we bump into on a daily basis.
The Word of God is active, living, sharper than any two-edged sword. And sometimes in a self-righteous, over-eager hand, it can be misused and can leave a person bleeding profusely. There are times and seasons. There is a time for theological hair pulling, like Nehemiah (read that lately? You should. How did I miss that inspiring tidbit before?) and there are times for drawing in the dirt, refusing to throw an accusation. Truth is truth, and always good. But we are flawed, clumsy, selfish bearers of truth. How often have I rubbed noses into sin, thinking I am simply “telling them the truth”? How many times have I discouraged a child, a husband, a friend in their struggle, missing entirely a God-given opportunity to allow their wounds to be healed by the word, by my words, by my willingness to shave around the scab rather than bowl straight over it, bull-in-china-shop-style? The Lord does not snap off the broken bits, does not snuff my smoldering spirit. When He cuts away my sin, it leaves me whole. He did the bleeding for me.
Lord, have mercy and grant me the wisdom to see the people right in front of me, scabs and all, and to rightly handle the Word of truth. Make me the clot.