There’s a story in the Bible, where an unnamed woman pours expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet. He said that this reflected an outpouring of her love for Him. In a children’s sermon, the minister used hand cream to re-tell this story.
I often see people retrieving hand cream from their bags at this time of year, smoothing it into their hands, warding off the seasonal dryness, chaps, cuts. I was given some for my last birthday. I have it in my office, often see it out of the corner of my eye, think about using it.
But I don’t use it. Using it would be at utter odds with how I feel I want to treat myself. I don’t want to look after myself. Certainly don’t want to care for chapped skin. I don’t deserve healing. I deserve to be cut, not caressed: I am a bad person. I cut time and time again, because it’s what I feel I deserve. I can never cut enough. I know in my head that this is not how it should be. That I could never cut enough: that Jesus died, precisely so that I don’t have to cut.
But still, I can’t shake off the feeling in my heart, that I should cut. That I can’t ever cut enough, because I deserve worse than cutting. Jesus offers me hand cream: I can’t bring myself use it.