Friday, July 6, 2012

Something is Better Than Nothing ~ Life Lessons from Sunscreen

One of my boyfriends in college loved The Sunscreen Song. If you've never heard it, it's a collection of advice to young people (couched as a commencement address) that starts with the admonition to wear sunscreen.

Sunscreen is one of those things that we all know we are supposed to use but rarely do. It wasn't that I was opposed to wearing sunscreen or had a burning (pun intended) desire to acquire a tan. I suppose it was sheer laziness and the avoidance of the yucky greasy feeling it left on my skin. Even after I washed my hands, my hot dog bore traces of artificial coconut and whatever other overbearing scent they put in to try to make the stuff more appealing.

I was delighted when spray sunscreen made an appearance on the market. I brought home of can of Coppertone Sport, telling my husband that it was one of the best inventions ever.

Is it a worthy substitute? 

Now, I know there's a lot of discussion around whether spray sunscreen is better than lotion sunscreen. When I looked it up, the basic answer seems to be no. Both sunscreens are capable of protecting your skin from most of the harmful spectrum of sunlight.

However, nothing in life is ever that simple. The many factors of spray sunscreen - such as wind carrying excessive amounts off and people being unsure of where they've put it or how much they've really put on - can effect it's usefulness. There's also the question of whether or not breathing in little particles of sunscreen stuff is bad for you. And you are going to breathe them in. Unless you hold your breath while you spray and then run away breathing heavily out of your nose and mouth. Wouldn't that be a fun sight on your next beach trip?

It certainly beats the alternative. 

Here's what I know about my sunscreen usage:

By Kelly Sue DeConnick via Wikimedia Commons
- I go through five or six bottles of spray sunscreen every summer. And I mean big bottles. Bought them at Costco in a multipack kind of bottles.

- I threw away my last bottle of lotion-type sunscreen during a cabinet clean out three years ago. At the time is was nearly seven years old. At that age it was utterly useless as a sunscreen, but it does indicate the change in my level of usage.

Some of that increased usage is due to maturity and realizing that if I put on sunscreen I can enjoy my outing and not be miserable for the next six days. Shocking isn't it? But a lot of it is related to the fact that it is now easy and not yucky to put on the sunscreen.

So if my option is to buy lotion and not put it on and burn or buy spray and miss a spot or two and just have a couple square inches of burn... I'll buy the spray.

Same goes for Spiritual Sonscreen

Wow. That subtitle is really sad, in a cutesy kind of way. Think I'll keep it.

photo by
Anyway, the same is true in our spiritual life. Yes, it would be fabulous if you read through the Bible entirely every year and spent a full hour on your knees before you started your day so you and God could be set up to commune for the next twenty-four hours. That's the ideal and if you can do it - more power to you. Literally.

But what if you can't? What if, despite every good intention you have ever possessed you turn off the alarm clock in your sleep or hit snooze until you're rushing to the car and scarfing down coffee on your way to work, hoping there will be donuts and bagels at the morning meeting because you missed breakfast. Again.

What if you finally find time to sit down and crack open the Bible, but it doesn't happen until evening and the kids keep popping out of bed for water or bathroom trips or scary dreams and over the course of an hour you read seven verses and a prayer that God helps you not to kill your children?

Something is better that nothing. 

photo by
It's okay. Some days you'll get more in than others, some days you won't. But if you don't get anything in, then there will never be days when you manage to get full coverage, so to speak. If you've been doing nothing and you start by listening to a devotional podcast (I have several I can recommend, by the way) then at least you've taken a step forward.

You can build up to studying the podcast passage on your own over lunch or maybe even discussing it with your roommate or spouse.

The point is, that it's better to get a little bit than nothing at all.

What about you? Do you wear sunscreen? Do you have an easy time getting that daily God connection in or do you scramble to get minimum exposure?

Today, you can have a double dose of my savvy blogging. I'm also over on Regency Reflections today! 


  1. hmmm i haven't been on the beach lately--but i would have to say i usually do not use sunscreen---i like your analogy :)