“I did it again!” These words have become my way of saying “Ouch!” Some people tend to be accident-prone. I am one of them. I do not take crazy risks. I do not have a dangerous occupation. I’m not really an airhead (though some would find that doubtful.)
I’m generally alert and aware of my surroundings and cautious in my endeavors. But accidents still happen. Bubble wrap probably wouldn’t help, though some have suggested it. After all, I do not look for accidents; they hunt for me.
Hiding evidence of injury takes enormous creativity. Sometimes it is simply impossible. But I sure try. I’m not a sympathy seeker. I can endure the pain and inconvenience of a sprain, laceration, fracture, and bump. And, although I dislike squeezing personal medical issues into our budget, our needs are always met and insurance usually helps. The hardest part of being injured for me is the PDAA (public display of another accident)! It’s downright embarrassing. Humiliating. It makes me feel like a clumsy toddler, incapable of taking care of myself.
Yeah, I admit, it’s a pride issue. My tough facade weakens with each new ouchie. Even when I try to minimize it, I can feel myself blushing.
My most recent injury was, well, . . . recent. Actually, I had back-to-back episodes this time. Right before Christmas, I heard the all too familiar snap of a breaking toe. It’s become a Christmas tradition for me. Each time it happens, I speak aloud the telltale phrase: I did it again! I’ve had more toe breaks than I have toes! (And, yes, I do have ten of them.) I’ve rationalized I break more toes around the holidays because so many items are displaced to make room for all the decorations. Regardless, another toe bit the dust this year. I determined not to wince or limp and tried to cram my sore tootsies into shoes that matched my outfits, fairly successfully. Life continued.
Then a few days after Christmas, a glass broke with my hand inside it. I could easily ignore the small v-shaped cut at the base of my pinkie finger. The two inch laceration on the top of my hand was harder to overlook, however. Off we traipsed to Medcheck again. The cut required four stitches. Bummer. The bandage graced my right hand, my hand-shaking hand. As a pastor’s wife, I have that friendly hand out in front of me quite regularly. For a couple weeks, though, I kept my sore, swollen hand tucked safely behind my back and apologetically offered the left hand.
Two weeks later, with stitches and bandage gone, I began putting my right hand into action once again. But it still hurt like fury. I could get by with gentle hugs to the ladies and young children. But the men liked handshakes. No wimpy limpy handshakes either. Good firm manly handshakes. Bone-crushing, incision-gripping shakes. “Please don’t do that again or I might cry” handshakes. Smile intact, I endured the friendly gestures and reached for the next hand. No way was I going to grimace. I was tough. (Just kidding. I’m not.)
The stitches were gone. Scarring had diminished. The bandage had disappeared. To those around me, my actions said, “It’s all good!”
But it wasn’t. Not really. I knew it would be. Someday. But not yet. Not quite. For now, it still hurt.
Physical injuries, however, include only one category of hurts. A broken heart often hurts more than a broken arm, bruised knee, or stitched-up hand. Emotional injuries go unbandaged. Most are not on a clearly delineated schedule of healing. The passage of time might, or might not, make things feel better. Outwardly, hurt hearts often appear fine. Smiles cover agony, and giggles cover inward tears. Others may be unaware of the emotional pain, or may wrongly assume the passage of time has performed its blissful, healing duty. But inwardly, the pain remains. The emotions stay tender. The slightest pressure on the heart can refuel the anguish once again.
Sometimes others simply don’t understand. They do not want to cause pain, but they don’t realize how deep the hurt is. Those strong handshakes were not intended to produce discomfort. Likewise, a bruised heart must often endure repeated injury as it heals. The bumps may come from a situation, an event, a conversation, a single word, look, or even a well-intentioned comment.
What, then, is the answer?
Kindness, thoughtfulness, and an empathetic awareness of the afflictions of those around me provide a helpful sieve through which I can filter everything I do. I may never know the pain others bear, but I can guard against thoughtlessness. I can build others up with my words. When I have opportunity, I can offer a helping hand. At times, I may be able to gently draw others out and welcome them into my own sphere. I cannot fix life for them, but I can be available to assist and encourage whenever possible. A conscientious love can do much to soothe a broken heart. I can do unto others as I’d have them do to me.
And when I am the hurting one?
I have Jesus. He’s available to listen to me, to encourage me, and to restore peace and joy to my aching spirit. He knows and understands me better than anyone else. He loves me beyond my comprehension. He cares for me.
Casting all your care upon Him for He careth for you. I Peter 5:7
That’s good! Yeah, it’s all good!