I hope that all of you had a wonderful Christmas. It was a great day that I was able to spend with my 3 favorite guys (husband, and 2 sons). The 24th on the other hand was a little rough to say the least. Here’s why. On the 23rd, I had to have a dental procedure on one of my front teeth. So, the dentist had to give me several shots of a local anesthetic (some type of novacaine) to numb the area. Later that evening, I said to my husband that it looked like my top lip was swelling. He said he didn’t notice. I thought, maybe I’ll just take something and it will be better in the morning. Well, in the morning, my top lip looked like a duck bill! Since the dentist only medicated one side of my mouth. One side was swollen and the other side was kind of the normal side. I looked like a duck that had a stroke. Whew… not a good look!
I went to the Post Office and to Target Department store. At both places, I caught people glancing at the duck bill and looking away. What was also interesting was the customer service people who had to ring up my orders not wanting to make direct eye contact with me. They asked me a question but looked everywhere except at me directly.
When I got to Target Department Store, I sat in the car for a few minutes debating on whether to put on the mask. I looked at myself in the mirror with the mask on and thought to myself, should I cover up this issue? I decided to go without the mask because the mask would give me more attention than what I wanted. I would look contagious even far off. The swollen lip would take a little longer to recognize so, I went uncovered.
I also began to recognize this as an Issue. I thought about people that I’ve come across over the years who have had Issues with their past; issues with not being treated well; family issues, marriage issues; Issues that NO One knows about. Heck, I thought about my own stuff. Issues that only me and Jesus know about. I remember my good friend, Brenda told me years ago about facing your Issues head on. Because if you hide behind them, they may become harder to deal with later.
I walked into Target determined that I was not going to let this issue control me. I’m more than my smile. Though I was very uncomfortable, this issue prompted me to go deeper. To take a closer look at myself. I asked myself, have I ever treated anyone or looked at anyone the way people were looking at and treating me? Unfortunately, the answer the was yes. I didn’t verbally say anything to hurt anyone. But then again, neither did they. However, their actions and attitudes spoke volumes. Their message was clear. My appearance was offensive. Offensive like the persons with physical infirmities; offensive like visible health and mental issues; abuse issues, homelessness. The list can go on and on.
How do we treat people when we see that they have Issues? Though it may make you feel uncomfortable are you loving? Do you change the climate of someone’s day by offering kind words, eye contact or a smile? Do you take the time to really SEE people? If no then, why not? It was a trip to watch the reaction of people that were obviously uncomfortable by my presence.
I’m thankful that the offensive appearance is not part of my lifestyle, just an experience that I had. It definitely has me thinking and prompting me to make some changes. I hope that it’s got you thinking too. Lastly, if you are dealing with long term issues, this blog is not intended anyway to make light of your situation as if I understand what it is to walk a mile in your shoes. I don’t. This is only about my own experience. And my intention to do better because it’s necessary.
The poem that I decided to add with this blog is in audio form. It’s my poem called the Woman with the Issue of Blood that’s inspired by Bible scripture, Luke 8:43-48. If you click on the link below, you will hear me reading it.
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Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments. They keep me encouraged.