Lizard in Hot Pink Wrap

There was a time I could have slid into barbed wire and not been hurt this bad. If the barbed wire happened to damage my youthful skin, the wound seemed to heal within the hour. At least that’s how I remember it. One time I ran a kid’s mini-bike into a briar patch. I also ran a mini-bike into the side of a house, but that’s a story for another day. I cried until 2:30, but I was healed by 4. I was like a lizard. You know a lizard can have a leg amputated and it is no big deal because he will just grow another leg. At least I think that’s true. If not, I am sure that a tail is no big loss to a lizard. You catch a lizard and he will just give you his tail. You’re left holding a twitching tail and he just scurries off with a nub. By the next morning, he just grows another tail. When I was a kid, as I remember it, I healed like a lizard.

Now I’m thirty-three and a few days ago I slid into third base during a softball game. It cost me ninety bucks. If I didn’t have insurance, sliding into third would have cost me about a thousand bucks. But with insurance sliding into third will get you a tetanus shot, some sort of goo they give to burn patients, an oral antibiotic, some sort of non-stick pad they told me to stick on the hole in my leg, and some foamy wrap, all for ninety bucks. My skin, now very “un-lizardly”, did not grow back. Instead it got infected. Which means something was growing in the hole in my leg. I limped around for several days and my leg just kept hurting and swelling. Lizards probably don’t swell at all. And so I started thinking, I could lose my leg because I slid into third. But I didn’t want to be a wimp about it; but at the same time I know I will never live long enough to re-grow an entire leg.

Everyday I waited for my genetic lizard to kick in. Everyday my leg swelled and began to really sting. Everyday my mind carried me into medical darkness. Does gangrene sting? I bet it does. That red ring around your leg will turn green, and then probably purple, then black - and when it does, you will probably die. Right after they amputate your leg and you pay them ninety bucks you will die. And dying will cost your wife several thousand bucks – all because you slid into third.

So after breakfast one morning, I took my un-lizardly leg to the doctor. It cost me ninety bucks.

The doctor, a female, wrapped my leg in a hot pink bandage. She sent a strong message to me that I was older now, and would no longer heal like a lizard. She also sent a strong message to everyone in the waiting room, and to all the people in the pharmacy, that the guy in the hot pink wrap is a wimp. But my daughters, they think my hot pink wrap is very cool.

When you get older and you can’t heal by five, you take a sick day. Lizards don’t take sick days; they just run around until their nub grows. But sitting around the house in hot pink wrap gave me and my daughter Morgan another chance to get theological. She’s only seven and she is really giving me a headache. I am almost positive, at some point; this headache is going to cost me ninety bucks.

“Daddy, it is hard to believe sometimes.” “Sometimes it is hard for me to believe.”

She had been reading the first chapter of John out of the New Living Translation. This to me is impressive, seeing that she is only a first grade graduate. The headache is probably caused by “big head” because in her daddy’s mind she is probably the most intelligent seven year old on the planet. You know how John one goes. The Word was here then there, He was with God and was God, He would do this and that, and then the Word became flesh. Her problem was not belief. Her problem was that she did not fully understand what she believed. She was not having a hard time believing, she was having a hard time understanding. Now that I finally understand her problem, I believe I can help. So we talked again, about faith.

Believing is simple, understanding is difficult. Jesus said that we should receive something that is difficult for even the greatest theologians to comprehend, the Kingdom of Heaven, as a little child (Luke 18:17). The Kingdom of Heaven encompasses so many things, and then its application to the reality of the world in which we live, the applications and explanations on the Kingdom of Heaven are inexhaustible. But the complexities of the Kingdom of Heaven are not enough to excuse rejection. In fact, those complexities, those wonders of the Kingdom of heaven are to encourage belief, simple, child-like belief. Believing makes things acceptable, not necessarily explainable. Understanding is not childish, and Jesus certainly expected our faith to mature.

Even when you are thirty-something you just believe in things, you don’t necessarily understand them. For a six footer who struggles with insecurity to walk into the world with a hot pink leg, that tells you someone, like a doctor, told me to do something; and I just believed it. Take this goo, smear it all over your leg, stick a non-stick pad on the goo, wrap it in hot pink, take these pills twice a day, and for ninety bucks things will stop growing in your leg. I’m good with that. For me it is not hard to believe. If I actually understood what was growing in my leg I would probably never play softball again. Actually, if I could see the things growing in my leg I would probably never touch dirt again. If I understood what the goo was made of, well, I’m almost sure it comes from the nub of a lizard’s tail; which makes it pure witchcraft, pure medical witchcraft.

We need to engage the struggle for understanding, we need to mature in our faith, we need to explore its depths and learn to practice it. But we should never lose the pure joy, the healing that is born from simple belief. Belief is the simple understanding that there is knowledge greater than your own, more to life than what you see, and an ultimate Being who is infinitely amazing. Belief shows you that there are things far too wonderful for understanding. Belief is getting back to the place where God first engaged your heart, you trusted, you didn’t understand what was happening to you, but it changed you. It is belief that births curiosity, an appetite for understanding that cries for nourishment.

And so I explained to my daughter that underneath this hot pink bandage was some sort of goo, extracted from a lizard’s tail and boiled in a kettle. I did not understand it, but that goo was killing whatever was growing in my leg. I paid the doctor ninety bucks and believed what she told me. That if you just do this, it will heal, which is not very hard to understand. Morgan’s problem was not belief. I think she is to the place where her belief is showing her there are things about God, about faith, about the Bible that are far too wonderful to understand.


Jason Dollar said…
"It is belief that births curiosity, an appetite for understanding that cries for nourishment."

And our hunger to understand leads us to dig deeper which ultimately leads to greater glory for God.

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