I have not been keeping up with this Curing My Eczema Challenge thing. I’ve been feeling the conviction here: perhaps I am such a selfish person that I want the glory of curing myself. Except that is not possible. It’s hard for me to keep up with stuff that I must do, so logging my eczema progress daily was never going to happen. Besides, school got super hard, and my eczema became terrible again. It got a little better after sleeping in a lot, and then really bad after I pet this really cute dog I ran into at a thrift store. I’m still not sure if it was worth it. For some reason, even though I keep failing, you never cease to put people in my life who inspire me.
I met a really cool patient on Saturday. His name was Robert. He was an engineer for 30 years traveled the world. He climbed the Egyptian Sphinx and floated down the Nile. He has a heart for Cajun food from the Bayou. He went to UCLA. I asked him if the math I’m learning in school was worth it, and he said I’m never going to use it. He really won my respect there.
We talked about religion and food and medicine. He told me that he doesn’t take pain meds because he finds the strength to mentally block the pain out through his own meditation. This made me tell him about my eczema, as it has always been my theory that if I could train myself to be mentally strong enough to not scratch, I wouldn’t have eczema anymore. When I told him that I was a Christian, he told me that he studied the KJV Bible from cover to cover and that he uses it for advice all the time.
“When I get to heaven, the one thing I want ask God is why he made my life the way it was, because it could’ve been so much easier,” He said, laughing.
“You know, sometimes I wish the same thing. Then I realize that in the moment I may not understand something, but at the end I always think to myself,’I wouldn’t have had it any other way.’ Because most of the good things that happen to me could’ve never happened if I didn’t go through all the crap first.”
“That’s a lot of insight for your age!”
“Long way to go,” I said, laughing.
I proceeded to telling him about all of my dreams, and he added his crazy experiences to my bucket list. I would one day get kicked in the face by a kangaroo in Australia, eat at a bistro in Spain, hear the choir in Rome, and sleep in a tree house in Africa someday. He told me I was kind, and I had many fine qualities. You don’t meet people like him everyday.
“Don’t waste your time on things you think you need to do. You have only so much time to cross all those things off your bucket list.”
“That’s good advice,” I said, smiling, “Thank you for taking your time to talk to me.”
“My pleasure,” he said, beaming. “Glad I could be a part of your journey.”
Talking to him made me feel amazing. I guess I am so broken, and selfish that I still search for inspiration from the world, nevertheless my amazing patients. And I feel like this is a problem. Not that my patients pour so much into me: they are perfect. But If my only motivation to do things is to make me feel amazing then I must have everything wrong. Because the world doesn’t revolve around me, but it revolves around you God. And I guess all my efforts to surrender control have all been a fail because I can’t seem to let go of myself. I can’t seem to let go of my desire to be known, to cure my eczema, to get straight As, and to tell stories about all the amazing people I met. But you put those people in my life, and you gave me all these talents I undermine. I am so mediocre without you.
And that sucks, but is so true, and freeing, and relieving, and scary. How do I be known, God? How do I be known for you?
I look in the mirror at my red, gnarly skin. God, you are mending me. If I want to be known for you, perhaps you have to break me of my pride, and my selfishness. You may never mend my skin, but I know every day you are making me more like you. 💜