I’m not sure how old I was when I discovered my first pimple, but I’m sure the blemish caused distress. When I think back to those teen years and the hours spent in front of the mirror, primping for some big night out, the special dance, the big ball game, the school concert, I see myself, standing in front of that mirror, inspecting every blemish, every hair with a mind of its own, every perceived roll of fat. I see myself checking every angle, every side, varying the degree and direction of light trying to find my best side, searching for how I could best hide those flaws.
Likewise, I don’t remember when I discovered my first wrinkle, but I know how much distress that deep furrow between my brows now causes me, how often I have caught myself looking with envied longing at the unblemished bodies of Hollywood superstars ten years older than I.
During both my teen years and now, in my more mature development (nicely put!), I have spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to hide blemishes. I use concealer to hide spots, astringent to absorb oil, moisturizer to smooth away wrinkles, and mascara to deceptively pull attention toward my eyes.
And all of this is done to pull attention away from my blemishes in the hopes that you will think I don’t have them.
The funny thing is: You have blemishes too. We all do, and, chances are, you were busy for at least a few minutes this morning working to hide those blemishes from the world!
We spend a lot of money, time, and energy trying to hide those physical blemishes from each other, but what about other blemishes? The blemishes to our soul that no one can see but that reach more deeply than our deepest pores?
Blemishes To Our Souls
Thinking of how much money, time, and energy I’ve wasted concealing physical blemishes makes me cringe because it is nothing compared to the amount of money, time, and energy I have wasted trying to hide my soul’s blemishes, the hurtful things I have said and done and even thought that I would never want anyone to know about.
It was on page 18 of Matthew Kelly’s Rediscovering Catholicism that I read the words, “Our history is not without blemish; our future will not be without blemish,” and began really thinking about my own blemishes.
I am blemished internally. Things have been said and done to me that have wounded my heart and soul. What is worse is that I have said and done things to wound my own heart and soul and the hearts and souls of those around me in an ever widening circle.
How much money, time, and energy have I spent trying to conceal my soul’s blemishes? I cannot even say.
How often have I stayed up at night just thinking?
How often have I been unable to eat or eaten too much in an effort to hide the pain?
How often have I hurt myself in an effort to focus injury somewhere manageable?
Once would be too often, but, for most of us, it has happened more than once.
Physical blemishes are things we all have. Masking these flaws through creams, make up, and good lighting is fine as long as it does not overpower the beauty that should shine through.
Soul blemishes are also things we all have. Masking the soul’s flaws however is not to our benefit. It is only through accepting our blemished souls and reaching out to others with similar wounds through openness, repentance, and grace that our soul’s inner beauty can shine though.
We profess that Jesus offers forgiveness, that He died on the Cross for our benefit offering us Love and healing, and yet, we still try to maintain that we are unblemished, that we have no blemish to our souls, that we have done nothing to blemish the souls of others or of ourselves.
Today, I admit that I am blemished. That I have said and done and thought terrible things. I am sorrowful for those things, but not afraid of them any longer. Because Jesus died for me, I know that my blemishes are not stronger than His Love for me; therefore, even though I do not want my blemishes exposed, I will accept what happens and know that I no longer have to waste money, time, and effort concealing my blemished soul.
Will you do the same?
My history is not without blemish;
my future will not be without blemish.
These blemishes can add to my strength, my beauty, my capacity to love
because that strength, that beauty, that Love comes from the Lord
so can never be overpowered by my ugly blemishes.