We are painting the garage—finally. The primer is oil-based, so I knew I should wear gloves. But like Alice in Wonderland, “I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.” It seemed such a nuisance, so confining, to sheathe my hands on a lovely summer day, so I promised myself to be careful and plunged into the project.
Do you ever think about blood? If it gets on your clothes, you pretty much have to throw them out unless you find some cold water right away and scrub. But blood can run down your scraped knees and all over your legs and never stain your skin.
Spill wine on your evening gown and you can forget about wearing it again. But take a bath in the reddest cabernet sauvignon and you will in no way require a total skin graft.
The house paint I (naturally) smeared all over my jeans and T-shirt will render them good for nothing except the next painting job. But eventually it will all come off my hands, even if I were to refuse to scrub them in nasty kerosene.
Three cheers for evolution—not! Our skin is a miracle material. Like clouds and trees and just about everything God made, skin has multiple uses and glories. Our mammalian ectoderm is a protective barrier against pathogens and contains cells that aid in our immune system. Its nerve endings are fine enough to enable us to be bothered by the errant presence of a single human hair. Skin aids in heat loss, and then when the temperature outside drops, it constricts vessels to reduce blood flow so as to conserve heat. It forms a semi-impermeable membrane to reduce fluid loss. It stores water and lipids. It absorbs—in carefully calibrated amounts—the oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide we need.
Skin is waterproof, ever think of that? It is water-resistant, ever thank God for that? If it were not, essential nutrients would wash out of you.
As if this all isn’t enough, your skin is constantly regenerating itself, undergoing total renewal every two to four weeks (which is the real reason why I don’t have to worry about the spillage). What textile researchers in a fancy lab have ever come up with a fabric like that? Therefore, all in all, I nominate skin as the Eighth Wonder of the World. Ladies and gentlemen, let the Zinsser Cover Stain and Primer fly, I will not be afraid.
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14, ESV).