Every winter, it happens.
The air turns dry when the cold temperatures set in and so does my skin, particularly my hands, legs, and feet.
I start to itch. And then I start to scratch.
I should own stock in all the companies that make body lotions which claim to heal dry skin. Over the years, I’ve tried them all. Ones with lanolin, ones with glycerin, ones with aloe, ones with vitamins, minerals, CoQ10, and all kinds of secret magic ingredients.
And still I itch. And still I scratch.
Ogden Nash once said, “Happiness is having a scratch for every itch.”
Well, I beg to differ. Scratching an itch is sometimes just a temporary solution. My red, itchy skin morphs into redder, itchier, inflamed skin from scratching and that doesn’t exactly provide happiness, if you ask me.
Oh, I know, Nash probably wasn’t talking about literal itches and scratches. Sometimes that itch is a yearning, a yen for something, and scratching it or satisfying it, trying to attain it, can make you happy. Or so it seems.
It just doesn’t happen in the case of my irritated skin.
All this slathering on of lotion and scratching causes me to think about itchiness. I know, my mind really does jump the train tracks sometimes.
I remember my grandmother and mom spouting old home-style proverbs about itchy things. Like if your nose itched, that meant company was coming to visit you soon. If your ears were itchy, someone was talking about you. Or if the palm of your hand itched, money was coming your way!
Don’t you wonder where these ‘old wives tales’ came from? I do. The only one I can trace back to a written source is the itchy palm. In Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar, Cassius proclaims, “I, an itching palm!” ~ Julius Caesar Act 4, scene 3, 7–12
According to some research, an itching palm was one that must be “scratched” with coins. In other words, Cassius was money hungry.
Why do we itch for things we can’t have? Why aren’t we ever satisfied with what we do have?
Why do we say, “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours?” Why aren’t we content to just scratch our neighbor’s back without the need for him to return the favor to us?
It has to be because we humans are so self-centered. We’re always itching for more to satisfy ourselves.
More money. More stuff. More glamour. More food or drink. More power. More prestige.
The list goes on and on, and the scratching of those kind of itches goes on and on as well.
I found this old saying in my quotations notebook: “Home is where you can scratch where it itches.” Well, isn’t that the truth when we’ve got physical itchy spots?
But I find my heart and soul itch too. My heart and soul itch to serve God better, to spend more time with Him both in reading His Word and talking with Him.
God provides the source to relieve all of our itches and I am grateful for that. That’s why I’m writing it on my heart that today is the best day of the year. I’m thankful for God’s provisions – grace through my personal relationship with my Savior; a loving family and friends; a comfortable, warm home; a reliable car; enough food to eat; clean water to drink; and clothes to wear.
And, oh yes, my Gold Bond lotion, which acts as a soothing balm for my physically itchy skin, and my Bible, a solace to satisfy my spiritually itchy soul.