I am aware that I have two allergies; one is courgette. I found this out the hard way. Years ago when I was still at secondary school we made stir fry vegetables during our home economics lesson. I had never had courgette before, but I didn’t mind trying it since it was a vegetable. A few hours later whilst riding the bus home, I felt incredibly dizzy and intensely nauseous. In a panic I jumped off the bus, I didn’t want to be the object of ridicule if I couldn’t hold down the contents of my stomach. There was a phone box near the bus stop so I called my dad to pick me up. Yes it was definitely before the era of cell phones! I can’t remember if I threw up at home or how long the dizziness lasted. In talking over my day with my parents, we decided that since courgette was the only new thing I had eaten that day, it had probably caused an allergic reaction. Many years later but still before the era of cell phones, my dad went out to get patties for everyone. I wanted a vegetable one. I bit into mine and was alarmed at the totally green contents. Dad had no idea if it had courgette inside. I called the bakery and was told that it was callaloo. This meant I could enjoy my patty in peace. Scarcely had a few hours passed when a wave of dizziness overtook me and some nausea. I was incapacitated for three days while the world spun around me. My other allergy is a common medicinal drug which because it interferes with my respiratory system, is potentially fatal. I also found this out the hard way, in fact my mum worked it out. So I’m a great respecter of allergies. If I have friends over I always ask if they have allergies before cooking up a storm.
One morning during my married life I noticed some unusual buttons on my skin. All morning as I got ready for work I wondered what they could be. I had not ingested anything out of the ordinary, hadn’t changed any of my cosmetics and I hadn’t changed the detergent. It could also have easily been insect bites, so I wasn’t overly concerned about the matter. The next day I had much more over my body. I was troubled. I had to take long deep breathes to control my breathing and stay the tears that wanted to fall. My then husband asked me what the matter was. I held out my arms so that he could see them.
“There are more than yesterday.” he commented. I nodded in agreement. “What has caused this?” he asked.
“Oh let me see. I’m not using anything new. Same detergent, same cosmetics. I’m no Dr. but how much do you want to bet that this is stress related?” I challenged.
“Stress from work?” he offered timidly.
“No my darling husband, stress from this marriage.” Without waiting for his reply I got out of bed and headed to the kitchen to cook our lunch. I was furious. I just couldn’t accept that because of my poor choices and lapse in judgement, that the strain of being married to a narcissist was now going to have a physical manifestation. Somehow I felt ok supposedly coping as long as I didn’t have to ‘see’ the trauma of my life. I was in denial about the true status of my life. I was so indignant that I didn’t even try to fake a conversation on the drive to work that morning and I barely said good bye as he dropped me off at work. I called Bestie to find out which Dr. I should make an appointment to see. She gave me the name of the Dr. whose specialty was allergies and I was able to get an appointment for later that same day. This helped me calm considerably.
After the Dr. examined my buttons, he put a range of possible scenarios to me that could have resulted in their appearance. None of them fit my lifestyle. When he had exhausted all possibilities I asked a simple question.
“Dr. what is the possibility that these are stress induced?”
“That can definitely be a contributing factor. Is your job stressful?”
“No it isn’t. I enjoy what I do but my marriage is very stressful.” The tears were trying to return, so I blinked hard to hold them back. “Sorry Doc, just give me a minute please.” He patiently waited until I had composed myself.
“I’m sorry to hear that. Would you like to do an allergy test or a prescription for the bumps?” I declined both offers, thanked him for his time and left.
When Mr. Impatient picked me up that afternoon, he wanted to know what the Dr. had said. I replied that I didn’t feel like talking about it until we got home. Surprisingly he was fine with this. I relayed the conversation verbatim and then added my own conclusion of the matter.
“This . . . ” I said pointing to my arms, “is all stress related. If you don’t want me walking around looking like a leper, I suggest you back the hell off.” For the second time that day I walked away from him.
What would we, the children of God do if we had an allergic reaction each time we sinned? Wouldn’t it be humiliating? A rash all over the mouth when we gossip or spoke ill of someone, a broken arm for stealing, and instant but temporary blindness when we covet? God in His mercy doesn’t expose our sin; it is between us and him and the third party if someone else is involved. When we repent and confess our transgression to the Almighty, He doesn’t demean us by making our wrong public knowledge. He shields us from that shame. Our sin is God’s best kept secret. Nothing will make Him break His code of silence. Even when we have done wrong, He protects our name! Isn’t He just amazing?
You’re well-known as good and forgiving, bighearted to all who ask for help. Psalm 86:5The Message Bible