When I was little I often took poison ivy (or at least its effects), pink polka dots and all, to school with me. Eight years removed from school, me and my dreaded foe met once again (we have our own little reunion about every two years); only this time it took me to school and the lessons learned were not fun!!! Here are only three of them:
Lesson #1 – Appreciate Your Health
The little plant with no hands practically managed a KO on me physically. With eyes swelled half-shut and fingers swollen two to three times the normal size I sure did miss my poison ivy free skin. I missed time from church and work. I could not sleep for waking up every two to three hours with an itch that could not be scratched. Concentration on anything other than the TV was nearly impossible. I spent more time in the doctor’s office in one week than I usually do in one year.
The only thing that was not afraid to touch me was my cat! I seriously missed my normal health (3 John 1:2). Over a week and a half later the skin I loved to be in finally started making a comeback. Good health is a blessing that is easy to take for granted. God forgive us when we do.
Lesson #2 – Patience, Patience, Patience
Most people do not like to admit his or her flaws. But admitting one’s flaws and being “proud” of them are two different things. One of my flaws that the poison ivy made apparent was my patience. A couple of days into my “ordeal” I was ready to wage war on my own skin. I knew that the breakout would not last forever but I was ready for it to be gone yesterday. There was not a medicine that could work fast enough, although I must brag on the shot the doctor gave me.
There are things in life that must run its course I have been told. Easier said than remembered when the “things” are being experienced, right? Seriously though, I do have to remember that there will be times in life when patience is not just the best route to take, it is the only route. The majority of the time impatience does a lot more harm than it could possibly do good. God wants us to have patience with ourselves as well as with others that we interact with (2nd Peter 1:5-7).
Lesson #3 – When You Know It’s Trouble…Leave It Alone.
Finally, whose fault was it that I had to deal with Mr. Poison Ivy’s lessons for over a week? It was MINE. I knew what that plant could do to me when I was messing with it. I walked into it with my “eyes wide open” having dealt with the effects multiple times over in the past. I knew better, but I did not do better.
Why do we do things when we know the outcome will not be good? We often treat sin in a similar manner. We know first hand what it can do but we still have to learn its painful lessons over and over. Thank God for His forgiveness and longsuffering with us (2nd Peter 3:9,15).