January 25, 2015
Mark 1:14-20
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Revelation 19:6-10

Holly's Worry

Epiphany 8 | Ordinary Time 8

Janice B. Scott

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Holly stared at her face in the mirror. She couldn't believe it! Today, of all days, to wake up with a spot. There it was, its ugly, yellowish surface tucked into the corner of her mouth. It wasn't fair, especially as she'd prayed really hard that tonight's date would be perfect. How could God allow a spot to appear like this? Holly experimented with the position of her lips, to see whether she could hide the spot, but it was difficult to sit with her lips sucked in for more than a second or two.

She felt devastated. Her first date with the most sought after boy in the entire class, and she had to have a spot! Well, that was it. He'd never look at her again. After all, he could have his pick of girls, since everyone thought he was totally cute.

Holly plastered on some anti-spot cream, but she knew it wouldn't work. At least, not by tonight. She wondered what else she could do, then picked up the phone. "Jen," she wailed to her best friend, "guess what? I've got this awful spot - "

Just then her mother came into the room. "What awful spot?" she asked, peering at Holly's face. "I can't see much."

"Here," Holly said, "here, in the corner of my mouth."

Holly's mother laughed. "Why, that little thing? I can hardly see it!"

Holly was furious, and hurt. "What do you know?" she said crossly. "Anyway, I'm having a private conversation with Jen, if you don't mind." And she turned her back on her mother with a flounce.

As it happened, Jen had a good idea. She'd found some astringent lotion which she said dried out spots instantly, and she offered to meet Holly in town at the pharmacy counter in the supermarket.

Holly was angry and disturbed and depressed all at the same time. She couldn't think of anything but the spot. It filled her mind with worry. But at least it helped a bit to be with Jen. They bought the new lotion together, and went back to Holly's to try it out.

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Jen soaked some cotton wool with the lotion and dabbed at Holly's spot. They waited for a moment or two, but nothing happened. So Holly grabbed the bottle, lay down on the floor, and began to pour the lotion onto her mouth, using cotton wool to soak up any excess.

After a while, the spot began to sting. "That's good," Jen told her. "It means the lotion's working."

But the stinging got worse and worse, and began to spread to the whole of Holly's lips. Then her lips started to feel quite numb. She leapt up and peered at herself in the mirror. "I think my lips are starting to swell," she said anxiously.

Jen looked too, then said cheerfully, "It'll be O.K. Give it an hour." But she looked at her watch. "I have to go. Have a great evening, and don't forget to ring me tomorrow!"

After she'd gone, things went from bad to worse. Holly's lips became so swollen, she found it difficult to speak, and she began to panic. She longed for her Mum, and was so glad when she heard her mother's key in the door. She ran out and threw herself into her mother's arms.

"Why, whatever's happened?" asked her mother, in a voice full of concern. Then she saw Holly's face. "Oh my! How did this happen?"

Holly sobbed out the story, and handed her mother the empty lotion bottle. "Did you read the small print?" asked her Mum. "Look, it says here, 'On no account use this lotion with other creams without first consulting your physician.' Had you used something else on that pimple?"

Holly nodded despairingly, certain she was disfigured for life. But her mother was already telephoning the doctor. When she'd finished speaking to the doctor, she handed Holly a tiny white tablet. "This is an anti-histamine tablet," she said. "You'll soon be back to normal."

And Holly was. Within half an hour the swelling and stinging had disappeared, and she was simply left with the spot.

When her date arrived, she hung her head, certain he'd notice the spot. But he kissed her and held her tight and told her she looked wonderful. They had a marvellous evening out, and at the end of the evening Holly plucked up courage to ask him whether he minded about her spot.

"What spot?" he asked, "I didn't see one. I was worrying more about my own spots. I was sure you'd hate me when you saw them."

And then Holly noticed that he had a cluster of tiny pimples around the base of his nose. But she discovered she didn't mind a bit. Some things in life were so much more important than pimples!