Two plus years is a long time to contend with a condition that is annoying, embarrassing and just a wee bit painful. But since sometime in 2013, my hands have been driving me nuts! Unattractive, itchy, annoying and diagnosed as more than one skin disorder, whatever this problem on my hands is, it has robbed me of some charm, cash, and confidence.
Welcome to a down side of gardening.
You see, gardening may be the culprit that caused this condition, if what I researched is in fact what I have. (Yes, I am studying for my medical license on WebMD.) I discovered what I might have —
Acropustulosis is a patch of psoriasis that can show up after a skin injury. It can appear on fingertips . . . and [i]t can be very painful.
Well, gardening has been one big source of all kinds of “skin” injuries! So has cooking. And because I remain an enthusiastic amateur, even after all these years of practice, skin injuries abound!
- I hate wearing gloves – gardening or rubber.
- I’ve blistered, gashed, pricked, cut, scalded, scrapped and burned my hands’ skin.
- I wash my hands diligently – but seldom moisturize.
Is it possible that carelessness is as much a cause of this aggravation as the genetics, a drier environment, and stress, which doctors suggest?
Looking at my oft -bandaged digits, I remember the ugly blister I rubbed right on the palm now that gives me a fit. Twenty years ago, a heavy rain was forecast; I thought planting a magnificent Hosta sooner rather than later was important, insensible to the truth that rain would make digging and transplanting oh so much easier.
I used the wrong tool to dig through bone-dry dirt, albeit with gloves this time. Determination overrode common sense. When the spade failed, I fetched a larger shovel, and leaned into the task. Seeing my inability to dig a sufficiently deep hole, I tried dividing the plant into smaller plants, requiring two or three littler holes. However, its roots did not easily divide. Clutching the spade, I pushed more forcefully, ignoring the pain in my hand. Finally, I planted the now divided plant about thirty minutes ahead of the rain. Peeling off the gloves, I winced, knowing the blister that I rubbed would be an irritating reminder of this less than triumphant gardening adventure.
It’s uncanny that that nasty blister covered almost the entire palm which now annoys me – that the fingers which bother me are the ones that sustained the most blisters and gashes. Getting in a hurry, and getting careless – with unbridled determination — explain how my old skin suffered – and still suffers!
But who knew all those injuries could come back to haunt me years later. Could life have given me something to “tend” that reminds me what willfulness and carelessness can cost?
I don’t think it is a coincidence; I believe that what is in my life is here for a purpose – some of which I understand, most of which I don’t.
The itchy, sting-y hands are like an unintentional tattoo. Some folks get one in memory of a life-changing event. But this is like an un-inked outline of what ardently pursuing my own way might have cost me. I call it my Peter-tattoo, in honor of the Lord’s disciple whose passion often landed him in hot water. (Luke 21:31-34)
God’s given me a literal reminder on my hands of what persistent character defects, like impatience and ingratitude can cost. Impatience is like my Peter Tattoo; my whatever-it-is-skin problem as clear a tattooist’s ink! Ingratitude proves I still prefer my own opinions; it is evidence my pride will not yield to the Lord’s plans. And His plans for me in this autumn’s garden time of life are His to make and mine to embrace.
“I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” (John 21:18)
As Peter learned, I understand that I can change, even if my circumstances can’t. I can do things better; I can make better choices, choose better tools, and I can ask for help. I can practice patience and gratitude; for what is patience or gratitude but the hope that Someone greater than I has a better plan for my garden.
The end of a matter is better than its beginning; patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit. (Ecclesiastes 7:8
*A Bit of Background
February 2011 — John Lennon and My New Food Processor
August 2013 — Amateur Diagnosis
March 2014 — Spiritual Eczema
March, 2014 — Living with Thorns
July 2014 —Traveling Companions