The other day "The Hub" and I had to go to the dermatologist.
And since we live almost an hour away from his office, we scheduled back-to-back appointments.
We made the long, twisty trip – and stepped out into an oven.
I don't know how hot it was – well over 100 degrees – but if I'd had an egg handy, I'm sure it would have fried, in my hand.
We were early for our appointments, but opted to go and sit inside where the cooling A/C wafted over our sweat-covered brows and reminded us of an oasis. (Poetic touch…nice, huh?!)
As we waited, I looked around at the people surrounding us.
This day there was a good across-the-board representation of all ages.
Usually there's a preponderance of middle-aged people in various stages of *skin repair.*
I've put them into categories…
There are the people who have spent way too many hours in the sun – just like "The Hub” and I – and have the marks and bumps and discolorations to prove it. This is the consultation and check-up crowd.
Then there are the people who have had some sort of procedure to fix the various marks and bumps and discolorations. Trust me, people, we've seen some gnarly looking bandages and some Frankenstein-worthy stitches!
Finally, there are the ladies (and the occasional gentleman) with obvious (mostly well done) plastic surgery and injections of various fillers.
May the Lord forgive me, but I always seem to judge.
Besides the fact that plastic surgery is very expensive, I am way too afraid to have anything done on me! I would be the unfortunate soul with numbness, or residual twitching, or hardness, or scarring, or any number of "Wow, that usually doesn't happen" complications.
Now don't get me wrong, I respect anyone's right to plastic surgery, and if you've had some done yourself, you go for it!
But I will never understand what makes anyone think that giant lips or a frozen face or a perpetually surprised expression is attractive. Just my opinion…
OK, so finally we're ushered into the examining room, after politely being asked whether we'd like to be seen separately. I am tempted to say that we'd rather not be seen at all, but I keep my thoughts to myself.
It's a *full skin check* day, so there's disrobing involved.
OK, no big deal, it's not like "The Hub" and I are showing off anything we haven't seen before. But still, in a doctor's office, it all feels a little weird.
My appointment was first, so I got to sit on the examining chair.
"The Hub" sat across from me in another chair.
As I looked over at him, and then looked down at myself, I started laughing.
"What's so funny?" he asked me.
"Look at us. Here we are in our matching hospital gowns, nude as the day we were born. What a pair we make!" I chuckled.
He started laughing, too.
That's when I made the comment, "Wow, living large!"
I just could not stop laughing.
All things considered, I like the fact that "The Hub" and I go to all our doctors' appointments together. I like having him with me to make sure that I get all my questions answered, and that I have all the follow-up instructions accurate and complete.
And truthfully, I get very nervous at doctor's appointments, so it's nice to have some back-up along.
I think he takes me along so that I hear all the information first-hand. That way he doesn't have to deal with my million questions when he gets home…
"Did you ask about…?"
"What did he tell you to…?"
"Why didn’t you remember to say…?"
So it's nice to bond over appointment time (???)
However, I have noticed in all my medical travels that it's usually middle-aged and older people that travel together. I know my parents never went to an appointment alone.
Retirement at its best??
So, sitting there in that examining room, in our matching gowns, waiting to have our marks, bumps, and discolorations checked out, I felt kinda old.
How on earth did this happen?
The years keep piling on, and I keep aging, but inside I feel much the same as I did a good long time ago.
It's one of time's mysteries, I think.
So finally the doctor came in.
And, like a mad scientist with his bug-sized goggles on, he inspected me from head-to-toe.
Randomly and rapidly, without any warning, he took his trusty little canister of liquid nitrogen and zapped several *things* on my body. (This is called cryotherapy – I think because it hurts and makes you shed a tear or two).
Then it was "The Hub's" turn – he got zapped, too.
The doctor shook our hands – thank you, Igor – and left the room.
The kind nurse assistant asked if we'd like her to leave while we put our clothes back on. We told her that we didn't care if she stayed, as long as she didn't laugh.
I thought I heard a snicker, but it might just have been her clearing her throat??
And as "The Hub" and I paid the bill, I looked at our blistered bodies and thought to myself, once again, "What a pair we make…"
On the drive home, I got to thinking about skin.
Skin is really an amazing thing.
Here's some fun facts:
1. It's the body's largest organ.
2. An average adult's skin spans 21 square feet, weighs nine pounds, and contains more than 11 miles of blood vessels.
3. In one square inch of skin there are 625 sweat glands and 90 oil glands. There are also 19 million cells, 19 feet of blood vessels, 19,000 sensory cells, 65 hairs, and about one million pores. Best of all, 20 million microscopic animals, such as mites, live in each square inch. (I am the hostess with the mostest??)
4. Every inch of your skin has an exact stretchiness and strength for its location.
5. Your skin performs a range of different functions, which include physically protecting your bones, muscles and internal organs, and protecting your body from outside diseases.
6. Skin plays an important role in regulating body temperature, allowing you to feel and react to heat and cold and using blood to regulate your body heat. Your skin acts as your body's thermostat.
7. The skin releases as much as three gallons of sweat a day in hot weather. (Areas that don't sweat include the nail bed, the margins of the lips, and the eardrums).
8. Body odor comes from a second kind of sweat – a fatty secretion – and the odor is caused by bacteria on the skin eating and digesting those fatty compounds. (Yum…)
9. A fetus doesn't develop fingerprints until three months' gestation. Some people never develop fingerprints at all.
10. Your skin regenerates itself, shedding its dead skin cells on a daily basis, creating a new layer of skin every 28 days.
11. Your skin sheds 50,000 cells every minute.
12. Globally, dead skin accounts for about a billion tons of dust in the atmosphere. (OK, this is just disgusting. Forget global warming, global shedding is a much more serious problem, eh?!)
13. There are at least five types of receptors in the skin that respond to pain and to touch.
14. All mammals have some hair on their skin, even if it isn't easy for you to see. And some animals have very thick skin – for example, a rhinoceros’ skin can be as thick as ½" – 2". (However, though a rhino may be thick-skinned, I wouldn’t tease him, just sayin').
Those are some fun physical facts, but there is a spiritual fact that is also true.
While we live on this earth, our skin is like the body's *house.*
It's a temporary abode for all the things that make us who we are.
The Bible calls our body a *tent* – and I can think of no more apt description for our skin – a covering that shelters us for a time, until we return home.
For indeed, there will come a day when we leave this body and go to be with Jesus.
Listen to the words of Paul:
"For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it's not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit." (2 Corinthians 5:1-5, NLT)
I love the imagery of putting on the new body like clothing – and I think of the concept of literally putting on new skin!
Yes, for the time being, my body and my skin ages, and needs a lot more attention than it used to.
And yes, there are days when I groan inside of it.
But these sufferings are only temporary, for there is a day coming when my perishable will put on imperishable, and I will live forever!
Can you even imagine?!
Yes, in so many ways, this life is only *skin deep*...
What reminds you that this life is only temporary?
"He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again." (Psalm 78:39, ESV)
"How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog – it's here a little while, then it's gone." (James 4:14, NLT)
"All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return." (Ecclesiastes 3:20, NIV)
"All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth." (Hebrews 11:13, NLT)
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." (2 Corinthians 4:7, ESV)
"Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord." (2 Corinthians 5:8, NLT)
"So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body."
(1 Corinthians 15:42-44, ESV)
"For the trumpet will sound…and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
'Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?'"
(1 Corinthians 15:52-55, ESV)
"He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers." (Romans 2:7, NLT)
"For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son [as Savior], so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life." (John 3:16, AMP)
"Jesus said…'I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.'" (John 11:25-26, NIV)
"'And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day.'" (John 6:39, NLT)
"…as for me, God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of the grave." (Psalm 49:15, NLT)
"For you have delivered my soul from death…that I may walk before God in the light of life." (Psalm 56:13, ESV)
"My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better."
(Philippians 1:23, ESV)
"I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" (Job 19:25-27, NIV)
"I shall walk before the LORD In the land of the living." (Psalm 116:19, NASB)
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