Something happened when the summer of my 38th year hit. 38 feels like such a random age and time, but so be it. Mild, occasional Eczema that I’d developed at age 30 turned into full on, world war 48 on my body. And by winter, it’d brought its brother Psoriasis with it. My hands, arms, neck, and scalp were all casualties. And after months of trying to convince myself that it would eventually go away, I knew that this was an issue after I’d tried several, expensive, over the counter treatments which provided very little relief of the symptoms, but no cure. Meanwhile, it was getting increasingly worse, and harder to endure.
After doing a little research, I turned to natural remedies in hopes of finding healing the God way. I tried a couple of self-made paste masks from items from your kitchen, and other home remedies. But it wasn’t until I discovered a combination of virgin pressed oils that things changed. Neem, Tamanu, and Jamaican Black Castor Oil SAVED MY LIFE. This was the first time that I was not only seeing a relief of the symptoms, but a cure! So I stood on my soapbox (Facebook) and had testimony service. People immediately began inquiring. Eczema and Psoriasis is a major issue for people when the weather changes. It also produces a frustration and desperation where sufferers are willing to try anything to secure relief.
I happily handed out names, links, and anything I could to encourage others to try them. But then…..there was one. Because there’s always one. They’d followed the link to Amazon that I’d given and read the reviews…..the same reviews that I’d read before purchasing. And they adamantly wanted to know about the smell that some of the reviewers complained about. They were not interested in “dealing with the smell”. Honestly, this was the first time I’d even thought about the smell…..seriously….first time. I actually had to stop and think: “Is there a smell?” And actually there was….a very distinct one at that. But it had never dawned on me.....not once.
My response was simple: “You know what….there is one. It’s definitely noticeable. But I hadn’t noticed because the healing benefits far outweigh the smell.”
Then I began to think to myself and question why I had not noticed the smell. Why hadn’t it bothered me? Then I went and read the reviews again. You had 75% of the people rejoicing and praising the product for the same reasons I had. But I noticed that the few that complained about the smell were not using it for themselves, but for other people, pets, or gardening. And I realized something:
You see, this person that had asked me, was also not asking for themselves. They were not the one suffering with the condition. They were inquiring for someone else. They had not gone day and night scratching and suffering with burning, flaking skin. They did not know what it was like to have uncontrolled outbreaks at random times. They didn’t know what it was like to have their smooth skin suddenly disfigured. They didn’t know about the cuts and scratches as a result of dry skin being broken. They didn't know what it was like to not be able to wear their wedding ring for months because of the swelling. They didn’t know about shelling out money on 10 different products, none of which helped. They did not know about the pain. They’d only heard about it. They were not the victim. This is why they cared about a smell, and I did not. I was only interested in healing. I didn’t care what price the healing required.
The reality is, what we experience will always shape our perception. And our perception is also how we formulate an opinion on what’s valuable. The value of a cure for Eczema and Psoriasis meant more to me than it did them because I’d experienced the pain of carrying it without relief. I am often amazed at the willingness of people to desire something, but the unwillingness to experience the discomfort of what the sacrifice entails to secure it. The price that we are willing to pay for anything is predetermined by vision and desire. Without them we have no standard of value. How many of us would love to lose weight without changing any part of our diet or exercise routine? Some days I literally drag myself into the gym dreaming of chicken wings and Sour Patch Kids. I work out because I HAVE TO, not because I want to. But this is thought process of most people. We would love maximum reward with little effort, and zero sacrifice. But there is very little in life that is worth anything that allows you to have your cake and eat it too....very little.
My suffering had already prepped me to ignore the presence of drawbacks for a greater reward. If I was willing to endure the smell, I would receive the healing. And with the healing, I’d eventually not need to endure the smell anymore. My pain produced vision. My vision was healing. And this vision literally set blinders on all else that was a negative to the process of healing. I’d read the same reviews and ignored the negative ones because my goal was healing. Something as petty as a smell was MINOR to the goal of the vision. The only time pain and disadvantage is wasted is when it serves to keep us where we are. It is always meant to push us forward, to teach us to believe and to hope, to produce strength and vision. It teaches us to ignore anything that goes against what we long for. It also teaches us to ignore the opinion of those who cannot identify. Pain is never pointless unless you miss its potential. Anything worth having will have a price. But the pain trains us to know that the price is small in comparison to the reward.
As we prepare to leave the year, I encourage you to take notes, both mental and written concerning what this year has brought you. All pain, victories, failures,.....any....and whatever. Pay attention to it. Then let it teach you something that only IT can. Gird up your mind and strength. Believe that whatever price your vision requires is worth it, and that you can pay it without the fear that it will not produce what is desired. All things are possible to the one who believes.