Somehow I got poison ivy.
It’s really irritating and I hate it.
A few nites ago I awoke around midnite irritated and itchy. No surprise, that’s what poison ivy does. I was so very tired, but of course couldn’t really sleep. Fumbling around in the darkness, not fully conscious, I grabbed a tube of hydrocortisone cream in hopes to relieve the itch. I applied some to the back of my right hand which was giving me the most fits.
I’m no doctor or scientist, but I can now tell you from experience, that hydrocortisone does not relieve the itch of poison ivy. In fact, it exasperates the itch by about 14,000. That’s my conservative estimate. It heightens irritation. And it causes a nice burning sensation that makes you wish you were merely holding a blowtorch two millimeters from your skin because that would be relief compared to the chemical burn I was experiencing.
So I prayed.
I lay there and prayed in agony.
And I thought of my nine year old daughter, Gabriela. She has suffered from eczema to a terrible degree most all of her life. It affects her sleep, concentration, fun, you name it. Sleeping next to her one nite, I realized how much of the nite she spends scratching and not sleeping deeply. It can flare up due to stress, being tired, heat, eating the wrong food, full moon…
It hit me that she goes through the pain I experienced a few nites ago about everyday. It hit me how easy it is to lose the sense of what she fights through on a daily basis. How easy it is to lose empathy for this thing I don’t go through. Sometimes I fall into just wanting her to suck it up. But it’s really hard, and I can’t know what she actually goes through.
But now I have a glimpse. And for that I am thankful. Going through what was only mere minutes of suffering has been extremely helpful in understanding Gaby and being more patient and understanding. The very next nite we had house church, and for whatever reason she broke out right before we even got started, and it was very, very easy to take her home and find some relief as the intense “steroids-applied-to-poison-ivy-rash” incident was still painfully fresh in my mind. I even felt it was a chance to care for her and practice this new found empathy.
For the record, we have had our most success with her skin this year thanks to an excellent doctor/healer, a wonderful supplement, and stricter nutrient ingestion.
May we try to be just a little more understanding today of our fellow human being made in the image of God who may be suffering in ways we do not know or understand. Though it may make no sense to you, it is real to them. We are all so different in our nature and nurture, that what may be traumatic to me will roll off your back. And vice versa.
P.S. I got sunburned yesterday.