Under Occlusion

Right about this time of year, my hands inevitably crack and bleed.  The knuckles, red and leathery, reveal winter fissures that make me wince. 

Nearly every part of my skin, if not already chapped, is vulnerable to the bitter cold winter air. 

And right about this time of year, I wear gloves everywhere.  I even wear them to bed.  I especially wear rubber gloves when I’m doing housework.  These tender hands need a barrier of protection against the elements.

My doctor friend says to put my hands “under occlusion” (covered with gloves) after using lotion to keep the moisture from evaporating.  Under occlusion, my hands have a chance to heal.  Occlude means to cover, block, or close, and I’ve decided it’s a great winter verb. 

My whole day becomes about protecting these little bleeding knuckles!  My skin isn’t as tough as I thought!  I’m putting these hands under occlusion! 

I realize that sometimes that’s the season I’m in:  vulnerable.  So I pull back, go inward, and rest more.  I’m under occlusion, and that’s right and good.  When I’m in a tender place emotionally, spiritually, or physically, that’s exactly when it’s appropriate and necessary to produce an extra layer of protection from whatever comes against me. 

My extra layer?  It might be more sleep, more prayer, more nourishment, more fellowship, more laughter.  It’s that kind of season, and we aren’t as tough as we thought.  We go under occlusion, and we’ll be ourselves again soon. 

Do you have a cure for chapped hands?