Sunday, 8 February 2015
Marked for Life, Made to Live
A picture, a few words - 5 to be exact - and the stage is set! I'm sure Hal lived to be a very paranoid deer; always conscious that he was helping any would-be hunter get a better shot! Gary Larson, creator of "The Far Side" comic strip, had a great way of giving human qualities and personalities to wild life. His comics were often a single frame coupled with a one-lined zinger. But, that's all he had to say..."Bummer of a birthmark, Hal"...and in no time we can envision Hal living a very shortened life.
Funny, right? But, the odd thing about this cartoon is that I can identify with Hal. No, I don't have antlers or go by the name 'Buck', nor do I expect to live an abbreviated life because of a ill-placed bullseye, but I know first hand what it means to be the owner of a birthmark that's very prominent. It's not on my face as some people have. I was born with a dark, strawberry coloured birthmark that extends from the heel of my left foot, up the calf and to the back of my knee.
Playing soccer wasn't a big deal because you could wear long socks and it would cover up my birthmark. But when I was 17 or so, going to Gulliver's Beach and wearing black jeans on a hot, summer day was a regrettable decision! I think that was the final straw. It was after baking at that beach and getting an even darker farmer's tan that I decided, if you don't like what's on my leg,...DON'T LOOK AND DON'T ASK! Now, I'm gentler and a little more accepting of peoples' curiosity, which is all it really is, isn't it?
Look around. We're bombarded with ads that tell us we'll be happier with a drink in our hands, a diamond on her finger, a boat in the driveway, an in-home theatre, better smelling armpits, fresher breath, tighter abs and skinny jeans. Really? Maybe, for a few hours, or days, tops.
I'm not immune to it - I still fight the temptation to compare myself to others. But, here's what I try remember (and I'm not always successful): I was fearfully and wonderfully made by God (Psalm 139:14) and I'm storing my treasures in Heaven! (Matthew 6:20). That's all I need. I just can't use it as collateral on a bank loan!
Come to think of it, when asked by my epidermal inquisitors I should have replied, "Oh...that red spot...those are God's fingerprints he left behind when he made me."
Ah, story of my life...always a day late and a dollar short!
And, after all these years, a word to my 2nd grade classmate Marlene G. - "Thanks for your kindness! I'll never forget."
There are moments when you can't help but just laugh. Take the time when my wife, Wendi, texted me and asked where I was. Apparently...