I placed my groceries on the conveyor belt and stared at the flawless skin of the actress featured on the front cover of a magazine. I wonder what I’d look like if I was airbrushed, I wondered to myself. Hmm, I’d definitely have them smooth out my forehead.
My forehead isn’t something most people notice, but if my picture were blown up to front cover size, they might. When I was about 12 years old, my poor forehead met up with a nervous horse’s head. Soon a knot arose that rivaled my great, great aunt Hazel’s forehead bump.
The first time I remember seeing Aunt Hazel is when I was a small child. My little sister and I were left in her apartment with our great grandmother while mom and grandma ran a quick errand. I suppose they were only gone 15 minutes or so, but it seemed much longer. Amy and I sat close to each other holding hands and staring at Aunt Hazel’s enormous being. We watched in fascination as crumbs cascaded from her mouth, to her pink nightgown, and then on to the floor.
“Would you girls like a piece of candy?” she asked as she pushed a plastic container of gum drops towards us. The room smelled badly, and the gumdrops looked suspicious. Amy and I shook our heads back and forth and hung onto each other tightly. “Shy little things aren’t they,” she commented to great grandma, and with that the two of them returned to a loud debate about whether something had occurred in 1948 or 1949.
Especially intriguing to Amy and me was the sweatband Aunt Hazel wore around her forehead. Sweatbands weren’t in fashion, and I’d never seen a woman wearing one. Later that evening, safely at home with our parents, we asked about the headband.
“Why does Aunt Hazel wear that bandy thing around her head?” I asked.
“Hah, it’s to cover up her horn,” replied dad.
“Really?” my eyes widened in amazement. I’d seen our calves be dehorned and assumed she must have been as well, and now she tried to cover the scar. I wondered what anomaly of nature would make a human being grow a horn, but then Aunt Hazel was unlike anyone I’d previously encountered.
“Don, don’t tell your daughters things like that!” Mom slapped dad on the arm and said to us, “Your dad is making stuff up. Aunt Hazel has a large bump on her head, and she’s just trying to cover it with the band.”
“Paper or plastic?”
I snapped back to the present. “Paper,” I mumbled.
I quickly dropped my hand to my side. I’d been unconsciously feeling my own forehead trying to detect what might be left of the old injury. Fortunately for me, the bump on my forehead mostly went away and only appears now when I wrinkle my forehead or smile really big for pictures. I looked again at the perfect image of the actress highlighted on the magazine. I wonder what she looks like before all of the makeup and the photo shopping, I mused.
I suppose the airbrushing it not unlike what God does with us. Except God doesn’t just cover up our flaws, He changes us. We are these filthy beings full of defects and imperfections. God looks at us through the blood of Jesus which has washed us clean, and He changes us into something lovely.
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” II Corinthians 3:18