I want to wring my over-zealous doctor’s neck. Instead of two cute (at least I thought they were cute!) twin freckles just above my right knee, I am now the proud owner of an ugly, raised, reddish-purple scar sitting next to one lonely freckle.
And no skirt I own will cover it up.
But it’s more than just looks. Now, every morning when I wander sleepily into the bathroom to sit and wake up for five or so minutes, leaning forward out of years of habit, elbows on my knees, chin in my hands to think about the coming day … Ouch! My elbows go right where that scar is! Not only is it ugly, but it’s sensitive! And later in the day, it doesn’t even like it when I cross my legs—AND I LIKE TO CROSS MY LEGS!!!! Then when it isn’t being sensitive, it’s itching.
I want to throw a fit. My dermatologist caught me off guard when she suddenly peered at the two freckles, which I’ve had since I was little, and asked,
“Has that one changed at all?”
I mumbled something like, “I don’t think so …”
But my mind was spouting off all kinds of responses.
How should I know??? Why would I be watching two freckles anyway? Besides, I thought that was YOUR job. Isn’t that why I come for regular exams? I have to LIVE in this body. Watching for DEATH around every corner isn’t LIVING. And truthfully, I don’t trust myself to even know what death looks like. So I’ve been trusting YOU with that task. Is my trust misplaced?
With all those thoughts jumbling around at lightning speed, she says, “I think we need to do a biopsy just in case.”
And before I could truly think straight to slow things down, the deed was done, and I was wearing a bandage. Now I want my “pound of flesh” because the results of her rashness came back “benign mole.” It could have stayed there forever and never hurt anyone! And even though I ultimately gave consent, I want to blame her for how quickly everything moved and for the daily inconvenience I now have to live with. And I have every right to feel this way.
Or do I?
It is amazing what happens to human beings when goods or services rendered are less than promised or expected. We PAID for it; therefore, it is our right to have PERFECTION. Whether its tile ordered from Home Depot, having an air conditioner installed, a cake decorated, or dealing with more serious issues, no one is permitted to wear the human hat in these cases. No foibles, flaws or fouls allowed. Mistakes are strictly forbidden.
Besides, this kind of stuff is only supposed to happen to other people, right? We’re … special. We don’t deserve this inconvenient nonsense. But all our money and expectations don’t suddenly have the power to make the other party incapable of human error—no matter how dearly we desire, demand or feel entitled to it.
So, what’s a believer to do—one who just found out they’re buying into the above paragraphs and didn’t even know it? I can tell you what I FEEL like doing! And I want my freckle back too!
But what is the RIGHT thing to do? The GOOD and LOVELY thing?
If I’m honest (and believe me, I don’t want to be!) the right thing to do is to respond spiritually when everything inside me wants to respond humanly. No! Say it isn’t so!
So, what does that mean in this case?
The Bible talks about thinking about the other person, not just ourselves. It’s about loving, caring and forgiving, no matter how egregious the act. It’s about dealing with each other kindly and patiently. One definition of patience which I love says, “Patience is allowing others to fail with dignity.” Can I do that for my doctor? While she may have been a little “trigger happy” in an effort to be thorough and ultimately, save my life, can I forgive her? Can I actually LIVE Ephesians 4:32?
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
No! I don’t WANT to practice what I preach this time! Don’t make me!
But if we can’t practice what we preach in the small things, the freckle-sized irritations of life, what hope is there of ever doing it in the big things that come our way? At what point do we finally decide to be the new, spiritual creation He says we are? If the “old man” is dead, crucified with Christ, why does he keep coming back to life at the customer service desk?
Oh, brother. Now why did I have to mention all that?
So, will I forgive my very human, well-intentioned doctor and allow her to “fail with dignity?” Will I choose to do for her, what God graciously does for me every day? Will I do the hard thing, because He did the hardest thing of all for me?
Stayed tuned. My appointment is tomorrow …
When it came time to leave for my appointment, I still didn’t know what I was going to do. Sometimes you can think you’re going to do one thing, but then your emotions or something they say makes it take a totally different path. But I prayed earnestly the whole way there.
And sitting later in that pink paper gown, I knew what He wanted me to do. And I was finally willing.
So, my doctor came in with a big smile (never underestimate the power of a good smile!) and like most people, I’m a sucker for one. Somehow, it gave me strength. I smiled back and after answering her pleasantries of, “So what did you do this summer?” I got right down to business.
I told her the truth. I told her I wanted to thank her for how thorough and conscientious she is, which is why I began coming to her in the first place. Seeing the unexpected light and softness that came into her eyes at that moment was truly worth every sincere word I spoke. Then I told her more of the truth. I told her since we obviously can’t trust me to know if things have changed or not, could we please take pictures of anything she is unsure of and then see if they’ve changed at the next appointment?
She responded, “Absolutely. If you want to be more conservative, I totally understand. I want to do whatever makes you comfortable. However, if I am sure of something, I’ll need to take action.”
And we both agreed. Then she snapped a picture of my other freckle!
I left her office that day with the same little scar (which she did say would probably become less sensitive and itchy as time goes on) yet, with one very big difference. Now every time I look at it, I’ll remember the day I didn’t let humanness stand in my way. And I’ll be thankful I listened to His still, small voice and put a person and a relationship and everything I believe in, above its small irritation and ugliness. I’ll never regret the unnecessary part of the truth I kept to myself. All the harsh words in the world wouldn’t have brought my freckle back anyway.
And if I remember correctly, I was the cause of Someone else’s scars. I’m so glad He didn’t choose them over me.