The pain was sharp but short-lived. I didn’t even look to see what had happened. But a few miles later as I turned the steering wheel, there was blood. Something had sliced the inside of my thumb as I drove along.
The cut was not terrible but deep enough to bleed nicely. Like a paper cut on steroids. A bothersome, silly, superficial wound. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
A little pressure helped the bleeding to stop. And I went on with my day. Or, I should say, I tried to go on with my day.
Turns out, I use that left thumb a lot. Diaper changing, meal preparing, clothes laundering, house cleaning, kid bathing.
The flap of skin kept catching and reopening. An infection started by the end of the day. Puffy and red and painful. Turns out, little wounds like this are no small thing.
Thankfully I am married to an almost-Eagle-Scout who is highly proficient in the essential survival arts including owie-fixing. Thankfully, he taught me how to tend to little wounds like this.
Owie ointment. Check. Band-aid. Check.
Clean and cover each morning, night, and any time it gets wet throughout the day.
This week I’ve been on a mission. I have been dead-set on getting this owie healed. I do not want the bother to go on longer than it needs to. I need it over and done with. And so, religiously, I have tended to this little wound.
_ _ _
Last night as I wrapped a band-aid around for the last time, I thought about the bothersome, silly, superficial wounds of my heart.
The little offenses. A word that lands wrong. A friendship strained. A situation that skews weirdly. And suddenly my heart is sliced and bleeding.
Ok. Here it is. Would you consider something with me?
What is our response to little emotional wounds?
Do we spring into action to stop the bleeding?
To cover with healing ointment?
To keep the wound from festering?
To protect it from reopening?
Are we dead-set on getting our little owies healed?
Are we dedicated to tending to the little wounds so they do not go on longer than they need to?
Or … as hard as it is to admit…
Do we indulge the bleeding?
Allow an infection to take root?
Stand by as the wound festers?
Let the emotional slice get puffy, red, and oh-so-painful?
Leave it vulnerable to reopen and become larger than it was?
Leave things untended and go on longer than they needed to?
_ _ _
Do I, with my own actions, allow little emotional wounds to become bigger and last longer?
I know. It’s not this simple. I know.
These kinds of hurts are complicated.
But I’m just considering my part in the healing process.
What if I tended to my little heart wounds like I tended to my thumb this week?
_ _ _
I’m NOT talking about minimizing pain, or dismissing grief, or ignoring gaping wounds, or “bucking up.” And I’m also NOT talking about over-obsessing, or dramatic misery, or garnering a gallery of sympathizers.
What I am talking about is being excellent at the art of wound care. Of being mindful and dedicated. I’m taking about being engaged and active.
Praying for the Holy Spirit to point out my little emotional wounds. Praying for Him to teach me how to be purposeful to tend to these little emotional owies that are bound to happen often.
Because, without being tended to, wounds like this are no small thing.
Lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. (Hebrews 12:12-13 ESV)