An unwelcome visitor descended on our house this week.
It started with irritated skin, itching, and now bumpy skin, quickly turned to oozing, irritated, and red cracked skin. Yes, poison ivy descended for a lengthy visit on the youngest member of our household and a much milder case for the eldest member. Thankfully I was spared this round, but have not been so lucky in the past.
Now if you have had poison ivy, you can sympathize. There is not much you can do while you watch with horror as your beautiful smooth skin turns into a hideous covering that itches like crazy.
The one thing you can do is wait, then wait some more, and then wait some more as your skin finally circles through the cycle of poison ivy and slowly returns too normal.
There is one comforting thing about this time of year, though, if you are suffering with the effects of poison ivy and wishing you could fall asleep and wake up two weeks later, well, you are not the only one.
Just talk to enough people and you will find fellow sufferers afflicted with the same nasty itch brought on by the oils contained in this three leafed plant. In fact, I was told that this time of year the oil is the most potent and toxic to those who are allergic to it. I also found a number of people who have recently had poison ivy, currently have its marring effects, or earlier this year had a case of ivy itchies.
So I guess the comforting thing is that when you feel like itching off another layer of skin, there are others already doing it. There are fellow sufferers one day behind and one day ahead of you.
Several times I have heard that the antidote of poison ivy and other irritating plants, like stinging nettles, usually grow very near to the offending plants. The antidote for poison ivy, I am told, is Jewel Weed. If you break the stem of the plant and rub the liquid on any areas infected with poison ivy, or that came in contact with poison ivy, the Jewel Weed juice is supposed to neutralize the poison of the ivy on your skin. Do it sooner than later as time is of the essence. Horsetail and Dock Plant is supposed to neutralize stinging nettles.
I watch my son trying not to itch and go crazy with his poison ivy and he reminds me of myself sometimes.
Just like poison ivy can irritate our skin and cause us to itch and scratch like crazy, life and people and hurts and grievances and doubts and guilt and one hundred and twenty other things can cause me to be irritated and moody and no fun to live with. My attitude can need an adjustment, or my soul may be itching for something much different from what it is currently experiencing, or I can be irritated by life and people and feel about to implode.
What I need to remember is that the antidote is nearby. Just like the poison ivy plants and the Jewel Weed plants often grow nearby to each other, so an antidote and help is readily available to me.
But to take advantage of this antidote I need to look up. Not inside myself, trying to solve the problem myself. Not outside myself, trying to solve my problem through other people, activities, or busyness. But up. Up to my creator.
He is the antidote.
I need to remember who He is – my father, sustainer, protector, guide, comforter, shield, Lord, giver of all good things. And I need to remember who I am – his daughter, beloved, forgiven, sustained, heaped with grace, redeemed, his treasure and joy.
He is the antidote.
The antidote to bad moods, criticizing attitudes, controlling tongues, temper flares, comparison, guilt and shame.
And the cool thing is he is always nearby. No searching necessary.
Unlike the Jewel Weed.
It did cross my mind to try and find some Jewel Weed, but as it grows real close to poison ivy, which I am not very good at identifying, I figured I would probably return with a bad case of the itchies myself.