27 Mar WHEN HEALING HURTS
*Last week we shared Grace’s story about a car accident that could have taken her life. Today she shares with us what God has taught her through the process of healing.
When I was little, my dad felled a tree in our backyard. Getting it cleaned up right away was completely ridiculous, so a giant tree layed in our yard for several months.
If you haven’t learned this about me yet, I have a very active imagination. Naturally, I was over the moon about a new “fort” to play in. I would run along the massive trunk, then duck off into “tunnels” that the branches created. My favorite game was Pirates. I wanted to be a pirate for a long time (until I realized my only real fear in life was deep water…I changed my dream after that).
My grandma always scolded me, telling me I was going to fall one day and break my neck. I secretly rolled my eyes and after she left I’d grab my red bandana and wood sword and run outside to my imaginary world of adventure on the high seas.
Well, I suppose there is a price to being a pirate. While I thankfully didn’t break my neck, my Grandma ended up being right (suprise, suprise). One day, while I was fighting bad guys off my ship, my leg slipped. I was wearing shorts, and the entire back of my left leg slid off the trunk, scraping the rough bark all the way down.
I can’t remember how I landed, I think I ended up straddling the tree trunk. I do still remember the harsh stinging on the back of my leg and the blood trickling down to my ankle. Like any good pirate, I got up and tried to shake it off. However, after a few short minutes, it hurt too much and I couldn’t even bend my knee, so I begrudgingly went inside and admitted defeat.
My mom was a bit shocked at how badly I was injured, but not surprised I fell. I laid down on the couch on my belly as she put antibiotics on the massive scrape and bandaged it up. I cried more when she was dressing it than I did when it first happened. I knew she was only helping, but it stung so much. She then gave me a long hug and pampered me a bit the rest of the day. It still hurt a lot though, especially trying to sleep.
The following Sunday, I made sure to wear a shorter skirt instead of a long one, so I could show off my battle wounds.
Healing mentally is a lot like that story from my childhood.
I’m not sure how you were hurt, we all have vast life experiences that make us each unique. I’ve been hurt quite a few times by life (mentally and physically), but I’m going to focus on my mental and emotional struggle following my accident.
The actual accident was terrifying, to say the least. While I didn’t have a lot of time to think, I had enough time to register that I could die. In fact, I thought I was going to die. While the moment was horrendous, I wouldn’t say it was painful. Even the days after the accident were not hurtful, because I had entirely frozen over.
It was only once I began to thaw, that the pain started. This is a common theme in life. I think of addicts – the pain for them only begins when they start to heal.
So many people go decades carrying hurt around with them everyday, because they become numb to the pain. While you have this giant weight on your shoulders, it hurts much more to address it and begin healing than it does to turn off completely. You become so comfortable in the comatose state that you don’t want to leave. You wander through life with your eyes closed: going to work, going to church, even hanging out with friends and family. On the outside, you’re just yourself. But on the inside you can’t remember the last time you truly felt anything real.
Healing takes courage.