Contagious

 

I watched this video over and over again … and tried to figure out exactly what makes me love it so much.

I think what touches my heart and strikes a nerve about this video is Cheri’s courageous honesty. When someone like beautiful volleyball coach Cheri Lindsay wipes away the thing that separates us from the real her, it makes me love her even more. When someone tells me a sacred truth about themselves, I understand more deeply who they are. When someone risks it all and removes the mask that camouflages their true self, they have honored me in such a way that we are bound together forever by that brave truthful gesture. It leaves me humbled and shouting, “Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! Thank you for telling me who you really are.”

I think that’s one of the reasons I find some large group social situations so challenging. These gatherings seem to be mostly filled with small talk. I’d much rather have real talk. I love it when someone trusts me enough to tell me the truth about who they are. Their bravery then frees me (as appropriate) to tell them the truth about who I am. Truth-telling almost always requires, or at least invites, more truth telling.

Cheri Lindsay has a condition called vitiligo, which causes depigmentation of parts of the skin. It occurs when melanocytes, the cells responsible for skin pigmentation, die or are unable to function. The cause of vitiligo is unknown, but research suggests it may arise from autoimmune, genetic, oxidative stress, neural, or viral causes. The incidence worldwide is less than 1%. Less than 1%. That makes it pretty rare and makes you, if you have it, pretty vulnerable.

Vulnerable to being different.

But, when we think about it – we all are different in some way. If we all walk around with masks on, some sort of ‘make-up’ to cover us up, then we hide the beauty that makes us all uniquely designed children of God.

At one point in the video Cheri mentions people sometimes ask if her skin condition hurts? She answers, “No.” Some ask if it’s contagious?  Again, she responds, “No.” I’d add that I think putting on the make up to cover her condition is what actually hurts – because it causes her to be inauthentic, and that kind of action eventually screws with our minds. What is courageous is Cheri’s honesty. Her truth. That which makes her different and an authentic unique one-of-a-kind child of God. That’s beautiful.

I applaud Cheri’s bravery and pray we all have friends in our lives where we can do the same – simply be ourselves.

Peace friends,

Chuck

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2 Comments

  • janet rife says:

    Hi Chuck,
    I have vitiligo and had a difficult time when a teenager and young adult, but I pretty quickly learned that it was something I could live with, quite successfully. As I’ve aged (now 74), all of my pigment is gone, and so I’m rather “albino”. Have to use lots of sunscreen, but the problem of being two colors is gone. Of course vitiligo is harder for African Americans.

  • Rachel says:

    I love this video and your post. It is always a risk to share the real challenges. Lots of strife and lousy social situations lead up to her sharing. Like the brave message!

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