Imperfections with Purpose

“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?

Is it a Blemish or does it serve Purpose?

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.


27 thoughts on “Imperfections with Purpose

  1. Awesome post, Amy.

    In high school, my French teacher once asked me (in front of the whole class) if I had the measles.

    Unlike the “innocent” 5 year old in the record shop, she did it deliberately to make me feel uncomfortable about my appearance.

    I remember feeling “stung” that she would dislike me enough to do that . . . and “relieved” that she hadn’t commented on my weight too. : )

    Thanks for sharing. BTW: Good record pick!

    • Oh, Nancy, I can feel the sting. Thank goodness there were more teachers who had the sensitivity to NOT use those kinds of tactics. My-mother-the-teacher used to coach younger, inexperienced teachers in our home. I’d hear her say things like, “Your pain is not to be transferred to your students. You have no concept of the scar it will leave.” It took a few years for me to understand the depth of that counsel.

      • Excellent advice.

        It’s funny, as self-conscious as I was back then, I don’t remember being terribly upset by her remark . . . probably because after class everyone rallied around ME calling her the “B” word. : )

        • Thank goodness you didn’t have to ‘wear’ the comment. Obviously she was not your favourite teacher. Hopefully you were young enough that all adults were simply alien and what they said didn’t really count. Good for your peers. Great to hear a success story full of support.

  2. Love this post. It took me a long time to realize that my beauty radiated from within not from my outward appearance. Thank you for helping me find my way. You dont understand the depth of how I appreciate you.

  3. More proof that we are Soul Sisters! When I was 17, a stranger compassionately asked if I’d been burned in an accident. I wanted to die on the spot!

    Unlike you, it took me decades to recognize and be grateful for the many, many gifts I’ve received through all those years of disfiguring, cystic acne. But I’m here now and I know my skin is a canvas of miracles.

    • Sally, what a wonderful remark: “…my skin is a canvas of miracles.” You have obviously come out the other side. I can sense that fantastic soul of yours humming while you wrote it!

  4. I can so relate to this!
    My acne came early (12) with such force that it made people’s heads snap back when they saw me. One teacher made me sit apart from the class in case ‘it was something infectious’.

    • Oh Cin, that makes my heart sink. You were likely mortified, embarrassed and wanting to hide in the corner. Horrid to be treated with such insensitivity. Thank goodness I can see that you became a beautiful woman who smiles with delightful impishness from her picture. Your story makes it even more beautiful that you write about another little girl with such respect, consideration and love.

  5. What amazing sharing from all you beautiful women!

    My cross was the squint that caused me to wear glasses from the age of two, when there was no such thing as eye fashion. I’m so grateful for the lesson that beauty is far from skin-deep, the compassion that goes with that, and the delightful discovery that I could be loved the more for it 🙂

    • Naomi, I wanted to be succinct. But I’m going to speak my heart.

      On the Safari, when I discovered the variety of virtues you possess, on top of the beauty of your person, I wondered what in your life brought you to such wisdom. I know you are a beloved old soul, but I can see how this ‘cross’ added power for the old soul to chose love. And that you did!

      • Ah, Amy, you are so very kind, thank you 🙂 I got off lightly, though, getting contact lenses at 18, while my twin sister has suffered from acne since we were teenagers. She would no doubt relate very strongly to your story.

  6. Hi Amy. Wonderful post. I didn’t suffer from acne, but I did suffer from low self-esteem. When I look back on my past I try to see it in a positive light, but, really, I’d rather just forget it and focus on the ‘me’ I became once I found my self-confidence. There’s a reason they call it the past, that’s where it belongs.

  7. For me, it was the nose.

    And, on days I drink more than a cup or two of wine, it comes back. Red blotches.

    Oh well. that’s why we have the new devices in our cameras. To remove the imperfections.

    Or should we? The Japense will never produce a work of art without something wrong in and with it. Just like me. A work of art with all my little imperfections for the world to see that I am more, much more than the window covering I place outside my glorious, Creator-given soul.

    michael j
    whose nose is still a wee bit too long, according to his teen-age son.

    • Oh boy, these built in bodily warning devices. Alcohol really affected my skin. (Inside and out, actually 🙂 )

      Apparently we have something more in common – we have family members who are proboscis specialists. My big brother phoned me at 1:00 a.m. – he likely had many blotches on his nose – to tell me that his daughter and I, who look alike, could use a nose job. I told him that was the single most important thing to know and I really appreciated that he woke me up to tell me. Nothing like family members to keep us humble.

      Now, Michael J, you say your nose is ‘still’ a wee bit too long. Have you been hacking away at it? Better get busy, these stinkers keep growing!

  8. Quick consult here with Dave, Amy 🙂 He much prefers shooting with the naked eye, reviewing with his glasses. However, the critical thing is to see the subject in focus with your own eye, rather than relying on autofocus. To this end, it’s essential to set you camera’s diopter to suit your eye (with or without glasses, depending how you see the subject best).

    My eyes are odd, being disparately long-sighted, one badly squint and with a stigmatism. However, each works perfectly individually (becoming more long-sighted now!), so it doesn’t really matter if I wear contacts or not. They make the subject appear slightly closer, though, which is a bonus.

    • Okay, that’s what I remember Dave saying on the Safari. I take my glasses off. Usually carry an old pair around my neck so I can see the settings that I ought to know by heart by now. Or by feel! And that explains why I didn’t hear you say a thing about contacts. Thanks for the excellent review, Naoms.

  9. Hi Amy, just wanted to let you know that I have passed along the Versatile Blogger award to you. I love your post — the warmth with which you communicate is amazing.

  10. Hmmm… I wonder what it is about humans that make them so obsessed with perfection (or what they perceive to be perfection). What is perfection really?

    Aren’t the imperfections what make something perfect?

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage

  11. I just read three of your posts, beginning with the “Elegance” award and ending up here. Your physical elegance and the grace of your writing are exquisitely matched by your spiritual elegance, which runs soul-deep into your core. It is so easy to relax here, far far from the harshness of the outer world…

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