Sunscreen, sunburns and a bikini (a parable)

It wasn’t really a bikini and this isn’t a lecture on sun safety and the need for a bottle of lotion marked with an SPF number. Look for the moral of the story as you read.

I’ve only worn a two piece bathing suit once in my life. A genuine, mid-drift baring one, that is, not those fake ones that are technically two pieces but cover pretty much everything up. That was back in 2000. Since then, I’ve gotten into shape, and I wanted to wear a two piece suit. But I’ve also had two children and have the stretch marks to prove it.

What the heck. If I don’t do it when I’m 33 and in good shape, I’ll never do it. So I bought one.

Now the problem was getting used to wearing this stomach exposing item of clothing. I didn’t want to walk onto the beach with a dead white block of skin between two pieces of fabric. Solution? Wear it in my backyard while playing with my kids in the kiddie pool.

Like any intelligent person, I applied sunscreen. I stayed out for an hour, got hot, went inside, and then went back out. Unlike my formerly intelligent self, I didn’t reapply the sunscreen. Oops.

I don’t have a white tummy anymore. I have a pink one. Ouch.

Too much exposure + too little wisdom = a painful burn

I figured there might be a blog post in this incident, mulled it over, and realized this:

Sometimes we aren’t wise in exposing certain areas of ourselves. Not skin. Our hearts. Our ugly areas. Our places that we don’t want others to see and yet, somehow, we feel compelled to blurt out in public areas.

I talk about transparency and living honestly. I try to do that. I think it’s good and often helpful to others going through the same thing, telling them that they’re not alone.

But there’s a point where we can cross the line and expose too much of ourselves to the wrong people and end up being hurt worse than we already are. Some things shouldn’t be tweeted to all our followers or posted for all our friends to see. Some people, no matter how much we love them, aren’t worthy of our trust; others may be worthy of it but we might not have an intimate enough relationship with them for confidences to be appropriate.

Being open doesn’t mean sharing every detail with everyone I meet. If I need to share in depth, I need a counselor or a group of trustworthy friends. I need wisdom in finding those people.

General acknowledgement of your problems is fine; detailed descriptions should wait for your inner circle.

Moral of the story: use wisdom and discretion in exposing your wounded places to others.

And use sunscreen.

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4 thoughts on “Sunscreen, sunburns and a bikini (a parable)

    1. I think integrity has wisdom, discretion and authenticity as its base. I mean, how could anyone have integrity if they didn’t exercise the other three? I guess they’re all equally important, really, and they support each other to build a solid, healthy person. (Of course there are other things that help build a healthy person, too!)

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  1. Good point, Laura. I’ve been burned a few times myself, literally and figuratively!

    I don’t soak up the rays because I’m so fair-skinned. I use self-tanning lotion and love the fact that my legs no longer blind people when I wear shorts in public.

    Hmm, I wonder how self-tanners would work into your analogy … ? 🙂

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    1. Yeah, I’m pretty fair skinned myself. I had lots of sunburns as a child. I’ve tried using self-tanning lotions and they sort of work, but usually I turn slightly orange and/or get blotches on my skin. And now you’ve got me wondering how self-tanners would work in my little story. Hmmmm…

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