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Personal Reflection: An Invitation to Healing

"Have you ever had that looked at by a dermatologist?" The question a makeup artist asked, with genuine compassion, regarding a suspicious spot on my face. This invitation to take a closer look at something I had grown used to and ignored, led to skin cancer surgery six weeks later.

Invitations into healing can often begin that way. We have all grown accustomed to things. Maybe we were momentarily aware of something odd. In this personal parable, I had a small red spot underneath my eye one morning. I looked in the mirror and thought, "That's weird. I don't remember scratching myself." It scabbed up, dried out, flaked off. The skin beneath looked not quite like the rest of my face, but I didn't think too much of it. I had grown used to the subtly strange patch of skin and no one else seemed to notice it either.

Compassionate Scrutiny

But under the trained eye and compassionate scrutiny of a professional makeup artist, this thing I had ignored became an urgent invitation to explore. The only reason I was in her chair this morning was because I had made a last minute decision not to try to do my own makeup for the professional headshots I was going to sprinkle throughout this website. I had never had my makeup done professionally - not even for my wedding. On reflection, I receive this last minute decision as a practical demonstration of God's personal care for me. I needed that makeup artist to point out that spot so that I could be healed.

But it only became an opportunity for healing because I took her words seriously. I trusted her trained eye. She looks at skin all day long. She knows what looks off. And so when she drew attention to this spot, I knew I should listen to her concern. She turned out to be right. It was a basal cell carcinoma, and it needed to be removed. Left unchecked, it would have grown larger and deeper and would have caused even greater problems in the future.

The Power of Respectful Questions

How often have you been invited into healing by the compassionate questions of someone who cares about you? I'm not talking about the off-hand comment of a family member that includes the word "should" or the not so gentle command that you "better deal with that". I'm talking about a genuinely curious, respectful, compassionate question. Something more like, "What is the story you tell yourself about that?" or "What is the wisdom behind this behavior? What is it doing for you?"

These kinds of questions only feel like invitations when you trust the person asking them. When you voluntarily put yourself in a chair and allow someone to take a close look with you, you invite respectfully curious questions to open places for healing. If the person in whose chair you sit takes their responsibility seriously, those invitations will come from a place of compassion and care. And you may find yourself on an unexpected path toward the healing you didn't know you needed.

I don't look at skin all day, but I do have the honor of being able to enter the inner worlds of my clients. Men and women bravely sit in a chair on the other size of Zoom screen and invite me to take a look with them. They ask me to tell them if I notice spots they've been ignoring. And I take my responsibility seriously. I ask a lot of respectfully curious questions from a place of compassion and care. And I am amazed at the way the Holy Spirit works in those invitations toward integration and healing.


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