You all know by now that half the time I am pretty downright crazy, correct? And that 100% of the time I’ve got this really bad case of hypochondria, right? Okay, just making sure we’re clear before I jump into this one.
It was 2002, I was seventeen and if that isn’t enough of an explanation for what occurred, I don’t know what else to tell you.
I was with a group of girls from my church youth group at our annual “Girls’ Retreat.” This particular year it was held in Tulsa and…uhh…urrrgh…GAH! *bites tongue to keep from sharing true feelings about T-town*
Phew. Okay, so it was in that city in Oklahoma that’s to the far northeast of everything else. The conference was held in a fancy hotel with a spa that made me fantasize about the future, when I would be married to a rich man who would drop me off at one of these places and I would get to spend the day…sigh. Anyways, it was all fancy-schmancy. We had a great time learning more about the Bible, fellowshipping with other girls our age, and going to little discussion groups about dating and finding a husband.
Maybe that was just me, but YES, I always attended the little breakout sessions that dealt with boys and dating. BECAUSE I’D NEVER DEALT WITH BOYS OR DATING AND I WAS ALMOST OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL.
After that short weekend trip, we headed back to Duncan, OK, where I hopped in my car and headed home.
It was late that Saturday night when I got back to my parents’ house. Everyone was in bed except for my mom, ever the dutiful mother, who was waiting for me to get home.
I headed to the bathroom to take a shower before bed. It was a long ride from Tulsa to Duncan and back to Pernell. I peeled my socks and shoes off my aching feet. I would have undressed the rest of the way, but I caught a glimpse of something on the bottom of my foot. Sitting down cross-legged on the bathroom floor, I pulled my foot closer to my face. Near the ball of my foot there was a deep, reddish-purple spot.
Immediately, I began search the spot for any sign of something sharp stuck in it or a bite mark. I could find nothing. The spot ached, but I couldn’t tell if that was from wearing my shoes for so long or the apparent injury. I picked up my socks and shoes, shaking them out to check for a spider or some foreign object. Nothing. I rubbed the spot, which was looking bigger now. It appeared to be under the skin instead of on the outside.
Then, because I am a completely rational person and always come to the most logical conclusion, it occurred to me what it might be.
FYI, no matter how off the wall the belief system I was raised in might seem to people who are from a more “say a prayer, sing a song, sit down” tradition, I was never raised with the belief that stigmata was a real thing. Uh, no. In fact, most people in my family and church probably would have called that hoodoo mumbo jumbo. Not that any of them would use those kinds of words, but you know what I mean.
So, immediately, I’m freaking out. In my head I’m screaming, I’m not Catholic, how could this be happening to me?
For minutes, I sat on the floor of the bathroom trying to figure it out. How could it be? I didn’t believe in this. Oh no, maybe that’s why it’s happening to me. Maybe that’s why I’ve been chosen to bear these wounds.
I heard my mom stirring in the kitchen and I swung open the door to the bathroom, heading into the other room to have her check out the strange purple spot. She looked at it and together we could come to no conclusion. Other than maybe my foot was rotting from the inside and would fall off. There was no way I was going to bring up what I thought it was.
And then my mom, smart lady that she is, went and double checked my socks. There, in the sock that had been on my left foot, was a little piece of a hot pink Post-It note with writing on it in blue in.
“You dork,” she said. “Turn out the light on your way to bed.”