We have all been hurt
We can all remember an occasion, an incident, an altercation, some painful experience that hurt us. The pain inflicted may have been emotional or physical, and we can still remember the feeling if we think hard enough. I can recall once I pulled the 'quick' from the corner of my right thumb. It got swollen and eventually infected, the pain was excruciating. This very same finger was injured perhaps 10 years before when I was pressing some rubbish into the kitchen bin at my mother's house and sliced it on a can that was inside the bin. That earlier injury compounded the effect of the later wound because my nerve tissue never healed.
Unpleasant nostalgia precedes glorious recovery
When my thumb got swollen and infected from the quick-pulling exercise, I realized through the later pain that my earlier wound had never fully healed. I just wanted my finger to "feel better" as we say.
When we go through painful experiences that leave us with scars or wounds, there is a process of 'listening' that we must undertake. Most of us just want to heal, we just want to feel better, but are we listening to our wounds? Our wounds speak to us by telling us something really affected us more deeply than we may have realized. At the time I plucked the small bit of flesh out of the corner of my finger while clipping my fingernail, I felt no pain. I did not see any blood or any indication that I had done something that would have lasting implications. So, it is also many times in life where we make decisions that are seemingly simple or inconsequential, yet they have deep impacts on us and on others. It was not until a few days later that my finger began to feel tender, and then shortly thereafter the condition of the thumb progressively worsened.
Old wounds, new trauma
The same principle applies to our lives. We face seemingly small scenarios and people say "little things" that cut us in places we do not even know we have been wounded in. Often it's something done or said in our childhood by another child or a parent, leaving wounds that traumatize us in adulthood. A wife may utter unkind, demeaning words to a husband in a moment of frustration that triggers an old childhood wound and voila! We have a toxic, infected marriage on our hands. To further compound this chain of injury, the same husband goes to work and blunders on the job due to nursing wounds inflicted the night before at home and the boss makes him redundant.
It is ok to not be ok
Far too often it would appear that the primary concern of most people is not to listen to what their wounds are trying to tell them in order to gain true, complete healing; but rather, to simply say "I'm feeling better" and run along to the next task. It is OK to not be ok yet. Although it is difficult at times to strike the balance between wallowing in self-pity on one hand and being unhealthily and unrealistically stoic on the other; it is imperative that we find the necessary balance in order to allow ourselves the room to confront the wounds and seek help if needed on the way to recovery. Our wounds tell us that something happened that requires healing. Telling ourselves we are ok to conform some societal pressure to be indestructible will not help us to heal. As I write, I am reminded of a pastor that served his flock faithfully for many years. He christened their babies, evangelised, and won many to the Lord's kingdom, taught discipleship classes, preached many sermons and led well. Yet he crumbled in his prime. What could account for this? A number of things, yet upon my careful reflecting it became painfully clear that the guy had not healed. He was an unwell, broken healer man.
When we listen, we understand. When we understand, we heal
We have heard it said that "hurting people, hurt people", this is true. Our wounds account for many of our mannerisms, defence mechanisms, behaviours, and belief systems. If we understand this, it will compel us to do two things. First, we will introspect to gain our own personal healings, and secondly, we will show much more grace to folks who hurt us as we'll be mindful of the fact that, like us, they are likely products of brokenness and trauma that inflicted deep wounds too.
Wounds do not heal without us listening to them. What are your wounds telling you? Are you listening?
Victor Brown is a Christian Creative and singer-songwriter from Kingston Jamaica. He enjoys reading and writing as well as creating music. He is currently a law student at the Norman Manley Law School.