It had been a near-perfect day at Six Flags Darien Lake. It had been hot and bright, and there hadn't been too many people. Just the perfect day for the roller coasters, the water rides and the water park.
Only one problem. We hadn't used sunscreen (see The Sunburn, Part 1: Where is the Sunscreen)! My boys don't seem to burn very badly so they weren't in pain, but the neighbor girl and I looked like lobsters minus the claws. Time for the Aloe Vera!
By the next morning, things were even brighter, and if I might add, MUCH more sore! I couldn't tolerate the shower beating down on my skin. I couldn't stand anyone touching my shoulders. I couldn't even stand having one of my pet birds sit on my shoulder!
Somehow I made it through the day, and though the tag on my pajamas bothered me beyond imagination, I even managed to sleep through the night. But the pain was even less bearable the next morning. I wore the lightest, loosest blouse I owned-after cutting out the tags! Imagine my surprise (annoyance???) When my husband, who had been recruited to spread the Aloe Vera, stated in a voice full of enthusiasm and good cheer: "Wow! Your sunburn is a lot better!!!"
Now, when you're suffering from sunburn, the last thing you want to hear is that it's faded so much that no one can tell you're burned! If you're going to hurt, you might as well be bright red, so at least you get some sympathy! But that's not the way it goes with my sunburns. They fade in a day or two, leaving the pain without the sympathy. I mused about this until the next morning, when I again asked my husband to put on the Aloe. I was still suffering, but somehow I wasn't surprised when he said, "It's almost gone." And so I went through the day, suffering in silence (well, ALMOST in silence! I had to get SOME sympathy from SOMEWHERE!)
Isn't it true that the things that really hurt are usually things that no one else is aware of? We go through life so focused on our own problems that we may never even guess that someone close to us is suffering. Our own troubles seem so enormous that we can't see around them. But if we stop focusing on ourselves, we will notice that our own problems are pretty non-consequential compared to those of others. Their "sunburns" may be faded, but they are usually still hurting inside, and if we just take the time to care, we will realize just how painful those hurts really still are.
It's not "All about me", folks! It's "All about others". Remember the story of the Good Samaritan? A priest and a Levite passed on the other side of the road when they saw someone in need. It was the Samaritan, the outcast of Israel, who stopped focusing on himself long enough to realize that someone needed help. And in the end, Jesus calls him "a good neighbour", and tells us: "Go and do likewise." (Luke 10:37 NIV)
Friends, when you no longer see the problem in those around you, don't just assume they are no longer hurting! Stop focusing on yourself and reach out to those in need, for only in so doing will you be called "a good neighbour".
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Author, Moderator, the Nugget, Scriptural Nuggets, www.scripturalnuggets.org, Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.answers2prayer.org
(To access the entire "The Sunburn" mini-series, please click here.)