I laid back on the hospital bed and let the experience of vulnerability wash over me. Feeling all my feelings, instead of fighting them off with false bravado or optimism or stuffing them by eating or ignoring them, has led me to experience life in a more intense way. This can be quite painful, obviously, which is why so many of us decide NOT to live “awake.” I laid there, feeling exposed and a bit scared, not knowing how the doctor would take care of these annoying skin tags that had been popping up on my body.
She explained that she would snip each one and that it would sting a bit and that the subcutaneous skin tag underneath my eye would require a shot to numb the area around it before she could do the work of removing the little beauty, since it was a bit more entrenched in my skin.
I was okay with it all, signed the consent form and begin some deep breathing to prepare for whatever pain was coming. The first snip wasn’t too bad, but after about 12 snips, I was glad she was finished. It seemed each snip hurt a bit more, and I just felt so alone, wishing that someone I loved was there, holding my hand at that very moment.
She moved to the region under my eye, and gave me a shot. It stung at first and then a weird sensation enveloped that part of my face, much like the sensation of numbing I have had during dental work. She then began to pull and tug and snip away this growth. It reminded me of my c-section. You can feel your body being pulled apart but you can’t feel the pain. She had to finish it by singeing it. The stench of flesh wafted up to my nostrils and I couldn’t help but think of Auschwitz and I kept telling myself to not be so dramatic. The smell of burning flesh is horrible, because our bodies are so sacred, our flesh so holy…the mistreatment of them is horrifying.
Just the morning before, I had preached about the Cross, the death of Jesus and His words “it is finished.” So as I laid there, my skin being pulled and prodded, I couldn’t help but think about my Jesus and how His precious body was just onslaughted and violated and beaten and spit on, His skin savagely ravaged, His flesh torn up…all for the love of me. And He was all alone, forsaken and disconnected.
He was violated, so profoundly violated, in body, mind and spirit so that I can be free, so that I can live loved, so that I can boldly enter into the very presence of God, and have His Ear, His Hand, His Presence, His power at any moment of any day, any time, any place.
I held it together until I got to the car and the tears just flowed and flowed and flowed. Our bodies are so sacred, so precious, such gifts. They house our souls and everything about our being human is so connected and intertwined.
The God of the Universe took on a vulnerable body of flesh and surrendered it to tortuous death in order to give me life.
I am overwhelmed and grateful.