In the Light

Cure.7.2

I wish I could remember her name, but I don’t. I remember her eyes – beautiful, but sad and ashamed. She sat cowering in the chair with her eyes down, wearing an awkward, itchy-looking, too-large wig. And it seemed no matter how hard our medical team tried to reassure her, she refused to smile or stop twisting the wad of soggy Kleenex in her hands. To our team of doctors in Concordia, Argentina, there was no need for her to feel ashamed of her alopecia. But to her, the auto-immune disease that took all of her body hair was a dreaded, humiliating curse. She had taken to hiding in her home and only coming out at night so that no one would have to be subjected to her perceived hideousness.

I learned some things from our dear, heartbroken patient.

First, she did nothing to deserve her disease. Doctors don’t know what causes it, but there’s nothing she could have done to bring it on herself. And so, it wasn’t a curse as much as just a sad, difficult circumstance of life.

Second, there was nothing the doctors on our team could do to cure her. She had lost all of her body hair due to this auto-immune disease, and there was nothing that the doctors could do to reverse that.

And oddly enough, I’m telling you a story that I don’t know the ending of. We were able to give her a general check-up, give her vitamins, and even check her eyes and give her free reading glasses. But we couldn’t fix this illness that brought her so much shame. She left with a shy, though slightly teary-eyed smile, and I don’t know where she is today.

If I could choose the ending of her story, I would choose that she came to peace with herself. That she learned to look in the mirror and love the beautiful person that God created – regardless of the fact that she had no hair and had an auto-immune disorder. I would choose that she would accept herself so thoroughly that she could reach out to others around her and show them love, as well. I would choose for her to live smiling into the light instead of hiding in the dark. That she would have a full, happy, and otherwise-healthy life.

I think that all of us hide things about ourselves that we perceive to be less-than-acceptable to the world. I know I have. As much as readers praise me for being transparent in my writing, I will tell you that I pick and choose very carefully about what I share and what I don’t. And many of the things that I fear sharing publicly are the very same things that I’ve spent years trying to bury from my own memory and awareness.

Over the last year, I’ve shared things with counselors and friends that I had sworn – for decades – never to tell a living soul. And leading up to those instances of sharing, I was so scared of sharing those secrets that I nearly shut down. There were nights spent nearly paralyzed in my bed or on my couch, haunted by memories and burdens and fears. But when I opened the curtains and pushed my skeletons out of the closet and into the light, there was relief. And behind the relief has been healing.

Our final chapter of The Cure says, “Our issues are exposed to light….We now realize it was wasted energy to cover them.” And that’s a profound truth.

The summer I was 13, I learned a scripture that I’ve never forgotten. But it took me 23 years to “get it.”

1 John 1:7 “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

I can come out of the darkness of shame and into the light. I have no reason to hide. And the more time I spend in the light, the more I’m going to know that and be healed.

This post is the final post in a book discussion on “The Cure” by Lynch, McNicol, and Thrall. You don’t have to read the book to share your insights on the posts. If you have written a response to this chapter, please go visit my co-facilitator, Jason Stasyszen, and link your post at the widget. THANK YOU for joining us for this discussion! Happy Thanksgiving! (And stay tuned for a post-holiday announcement about our next book discussion!)  

About Sarah Salter

Comments

  1. I have seen many young people of the years, at Youth Coventions, etc., that if you looked deep enough into their eyes as they slowly made themselves down to the altar, that there was a lot down underneath that timid smile and the tears.. Some you felt like that all those old wounds were healed at the altar, but others, sometimes you weren’t really sure.. And like the lady you spoke about, some we never knew how their stories turned out.. . You just keep praying over the years for them and believe that it finally worked out for them.. Great share tonight Sarah..Love ya.

  2. This is so true for me too: “I think that all of us hide things about ourselves that we perceive to be less-than-acceptable to the world. I know I have. As much as readers praise me for being transparent in my writing, I will tell you that I pick and choose very carefully about what I share and what I don’t. And many of the things that I fear sharing publicly are the very same things that I’ve spent years trying to bury from my own memory and awareness.”

  3. Oh yeah, I know what you’re saying. It can take a lot of energy and trust to step into the light, but I’ve lived the alternative and it’s way more energy, like you pointed out. That doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with it still, but ultimately I know I can trust Him. :) Thanks Sarah.

  4. Living in the light can be scary…being so exposed, but if HE is in the light, then that’s where I want to be!

    Thanks so much for your openness and honesty. God bless.

  5. Vicky Warrick says:

    Well, this made me take a hard look at myself. One of the sayings that I have been known for is “I keep it real” but the truth is that I really don’t. I also pick and choose what I reveal. I try to tell myself that it’s because of my son and my not wanting him to be embarassed by some things that have happened to me but am I even being real in saying that? Hmmm

  6. Sarah Salter says:

    Love you, Vicky! Thanks for coming by!!

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