“Do you wear perfume?” The young voice was strong and confident, fueled by curiosity.
Saturday morning customers in a record shop, downtown Calgary, were serious consumers. I was after Procol Harum’s ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale”. I had just tripped over the second decade of life and had moved into a dazzling, new apartment building in the center of the city. To maintain the image of a seriously career-oriented business woman, I didn’t leave the apartment building until I had performed all the trendy ablutions.
The care I took with makeup and attire wasn’t entirely for maintaining an image. Throughout my teen years, my complexion defied every prescribed ointment, treatment and prevention. Prior to every important date or event, my skin would present its reminder that I was dealing with acne.
Oddly enough, my friends did not “see” the depths of despair that these outbreaks created. Certainly I did not talk about it. With all the care I took to hide the condition, why would I bring verbal attention to it?
During one heartbreaking cover-up session, I was preparing for my High School Graduation. I stared into the bathroom mirror and began sobbing, “Other girls put on make-up. I perform surgery.”
Perfume? I looked down into the face of the determined five year old. “Do I wear perfume?” I confirmed the question.
“Yah. I bet you started wearing perfume a long time ago.”
“How do you know that? Can you smell it on me now?”
“No, but I can tell.”
“How are you so clever?
“Well, I wanted to wear my mommy’s perfume. She told me if I wore it too soon, it would give me pimples. She was right!”
The beauty of youth’s honesty saved me from choking. It did not save my heart from being stung with shame. I left the store immediately and headed for home.
Wow, my Guides, I trust you have a good reason for wanting me to share that incident.
We d0. Thank you. We know and understand that it is still a moment that brings sadness to you.
It does, but not sadness for me. Not any more. Now I feel sad knowing that there are so many young people who go through the agony of feeling “less than”.
We would like you to describe how you came through that hurt?
As I walked home, I forced myself to pray. I took refuge in the Love of my Beloved Creator. Humans couldn’t fix me, but I knew where I could go. God did not care about my appearance – whether I looked beautiful or ugly. My face could be covered with blemishes, but I was still loved by All That Matters. I shared responsibility in keeping my heart filled with as much love as possible. In spite of that knowledge, however, I recall loathing my skin with a vengeance. Then something happened. It may have been orchestrated by you, my Guides. In the midst of that inner rage, I heard, “I love your Soul. Its beauty is your love for me.”
And you heard well. It led you to a steadfast trust in purpose.
Being young, it wasn’t easy believing that some really hurtful, negative condition or experience could serve a purpose. I wanted to believe, and therefore secretly believed, the purpose had to be related to my developing strength of character. I believed there was some sort of soul work going on.
In spite of that, I would say, “Okay, God, these pimples are doing something good. I can hardly imagine what that is, but I will accept that. But on my face? That’s the first and often the ONLY part of me that people see. Why the face?”
Did you get an answer?
No. There was no Divine intervention on that plea. Well, wait. Maybe there was. I heard about a book written by a Dutch woman named Corrie ten Boom, called “A Hiding Place”, an autobiography about her experience, as a little girl, in a concentration camp during the Second World War. Her older sister and she were put in the most flea infested hut. They, and all the inhabitants, were bitten mercilessly. Her older sister, however, was delighted with this hut because someone had managed to sneak in a Bible. Each night they reveled in Bible readings before going to sleep.
When Corrie could not tolerate the fleas one more night, she broke down and complained to her sister. Her sister directed her to get on her knees and thank God for every one of those fleas. Corrie was mortified. What a ridiculous response. Her sister pointed out how the guards rarely came into their hut because of the fleas. The fleas gave the prisoners freedom to hide a Bible and to share it with each other daily. Those readings gave them the strength to endure.
I decided that if Corrie ten Boom could live through the horrors of a flea-infested concentration camp and write an incredibly beautiful book about it, I could put up with pimples. I began thanking God for my pimples.
The Beauty that exists in your Soul has blossomed mightily from your experience with what could have been a heartbreaking condition. You chose to trust its Purpose. You have carried compassion and empathy that comes from a heart knowing despair.
The mystery to me, my Guides, is that others don’t remember me having a bad complexion during those highly sensitive years. Oh, the proof is in the scarring that is on my skin today, but it amazes me that they don’t even remember. It was such a big, huge, ugly ordeal to me.
And that’s the message. No matter the depth any Soul has to go to finally reach out for the Hand of the Beloved, there is always Love. No matter the scars that are carried from that perceived aberration, there is always Healing. No matter the number of times a human being experiences its sadness, there is always Purpose. And throughout experiences in each and every life, beauty flourishes when Love is present.
You help me realize that this is our blueprint for loving each other. We can take the hurt and pain we have known and put it to work. We can demonstrate compassion and loving kindness in so many unique ways because of our individual experiences in life. While I cannot be all things for any one human being, I can keep my heart open and let Love’s Flow touch someone because I see that person. My experience gives me the eyes to know. I can recognize and acknowledge the feelings that come from blemishes on their lives.
We shower you with blessings of beauty from the Infinite Beloved.
Thank you. You have been showering me for a long time. The cleansing is Divine.