When I used to teach, I often had welts on my legs from bumping into the desks. These were easily covered with dress slacks and disappeared within a few days. No questions asked. No embarrassment. It was a pain but a part of my klutziness I had learned to live with…
That is, until one day, I ended up with visible welts across my arm. My uncle had a new (large) puppy, and she jumped on me with excitement as I carried in the groceries to his basement apartment. I had no free hand to block her assault. And at the time, it didn’t seem like a big deal, but the next day, I regretted our entire encounter.
My forearm had bruised with finger-like purple scratches overnight. I had a true tale to back up what had happened, and I needed to get to work. No big deal. I bruise like a peach. That’s the words I told to my co-workers over lunch.
Later that day, the guidance counselor came to me and took my arm in her hand, like it was fragile and going to break. “Oh honey, what happened?”
I repeated my story with a laugh.
She eyed me skeptically. “It looks very similar to a hand-print.”
I could only imagine the conclusion she’d drawn. “Well, that’s what happened.” I laughed again, but this time with a nervous, awkward smile.
My embarrassment from that day is still fresh in my mind. I had no way to prove a bizarre story about a dog and a pile of groceries, no way to prove I wounded with ease. At the time, a part of me wished I could have been anyone else. I died a little inside, thinking if only…if only…
But God made me a sort of klutz, I guess. He made me with skin that sometimes turns purple and swells at the slightest abrasion. I can’t explain how imperfect I felt on that day, how humiliated.
Maybe you’re there. Maybe you’ve felt imperfect, humiliated even by some encounter or exchange or memory. On those days, I love to remind myself of David’s words:
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
I don’t often give thanks to God for those areas I perceive as my “faults”. I hate that sometimes I talk too much, and I sometimes I laugh too loud. I wish the words that came to my keyboard often came to my mouth. I wish that in my daily interactions my heart showed more. And that in those awkward moments, I was just a little less embarrassing. I know I have room to grow, and I can’t chalk everything up to “this is just how God has made me.” But I also shouldn’t sit back and nitpick with an ungrateful heart.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made…oh, how my soul knows it well.