Tues., Jan. 18/22
It burns, it tingles, it gets all crawly… sweaty. Your skin screams to be set free, to breathe again! But the calendar on the wall says “not yet,” two more weeks before the cast can be cast.
It’s an unbearable thing to have an unreachable itch! That spot dead center on your back, beneath that hardened cast, or deep inside, “under your skin,” tickling your mind or conscience. — Itches are very real. Just try ignoring one.
Its called Pruritus, not that it helps, and it is a sensation caused by the stimulation of nerve cells in your skin, not that that helps either! Scratching sends distracting signals to your brain… temporarily. You get a jolt of serotonin, feel that “Aaaah” good feeling, but then, a few moments later, the pruritis problem persists.
Dryness is the most common culprit of skin itch and the sources I consulted agree: scratching is not the solution. You may even need to visit your doctor.
Interestingly, dryness is very likely also the cause of your spiritual itch! Augustine’s oft-cited summary says it best: “Thou has made us for Thyself, O Lord, and the heart of man is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.” – St. Augustine (354-430 AD). Nothing else quite cuts it. When the itch is for God no other scratching spot will do. But of course not one of us can reach that spot! We are mortal, He is eternal. We are sinful, He is holy. We are finite, He is infinite!
Sometimes, when my wife’s back gets unbearably itchy she will come to me and say, “Please, could you scratch my back?” I am happy to do so. I know I can do what she cannot. I love her, and am pleased she has come to me instead of persisted in the frustration of trying to do it herself.
Turns out, this is exactly what we must do to alleviate our spiritual itch. We cannot reach God ourselves, but we can reach Christ. We can go to Him and say, “Please, will you occupy that empty, itching spot inside me, that I may rest in you and be restless no longer?” And He will be happy to do so, for only He can do what we cannot. He loves us, and is pleased when we come to Him instead of persisting in the frustration of trying to reach that unreachable spot by ourselves.