Patient Healing

When I was a freshman in college living in the dorms, I had a minor mishap with my loft ladder one morning as I was attempting to get down from bed and hurry my way to class. As I placed my left foot down on the step, the step splintered in half, with the nail that was once holding it in place now piercing my leg deeply. As if that pain wasn't bad enough, the nail quickly carved down my leg another 8 inches as I fell to the floor. Not a straight, clean cut, but a curved, crooked, jagged gash. It was obvious this wasn’t going to be easily put back together.

I hobbled across campus to Student Health where I received at least 40 stitches. I now had a giant red and purple "S" shape down my leg...not pretty. The cut was so deep, almost to the muscle, and I was told if I wanted it to heal properly, I needed to restrain from any physical activity for the next 4 weeks. Not good news considering I was on the women’s tennis team and we were leaving for the annual spring break meet in a week. I had been anticipating that trip for months. Meltdown ensued. I thought my life was over (at 18 years old, I clearly had a lot to learn!) I was so angry, replaying the incident over and over in my mind and trying to answer the question “Why me???”

For months I did what I could to help minimize scarring...I would dutifully massage Vitamin E and every anti-scarring medication I could find and cover it in a silicone wrap every night. But any time I wore shorts, people would say "what happened to your leg???" I was so frustrated...the discoloration was actually getting darker, not lighter. I wanted plastic surgery, a quick fix.

Now eleven years later, the scar is barely visible. Definitely not a quick healing, but a process that occured over time as a result of taking care of it properly. Yet it was hard to trust those who knew best--those who said that it would eventually be invisible. Those who said the dark, ugly scar was simply a part of the healing process.

What about our scars inside that nobody can see? The scars that developed as a result of someone hurting us. The scars that arose from the pain of another failed relationship...the end of a life long friendship...rejection…failure to meet our own expectations or the expectations of others. How are we caring for those wounds? Do we even acknowledge they are present? Or do we just go on about our lives, pretending as if everything is great and we've never been hurt? Packing our days so full of busyness that we never have time alone with ourselves and God to admit that our hearts, the very wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23), are in need of some serious healing? I think often times it's easy to avoid. After all, no one is probably going to ask you (although they may be thinking it), "what happened to your Heart???" like they did my leg.

But a friend did ask me a few months ago "how is your heart these days?" Truthfully, I had never given it much thought, probably because the answer would've exposed a side of me I never wanted any one to see. If I cared so much about healing a scar on my leg, why was I not as concerned about healing my heart? It does, after all, determine the course of my life.

The scars on my leg and in my heart weren’t straight paths, but crooked ones. Isn't that how God gets us to where He wants us? The long, crooked, and sometimes ugly path? But He gets us there, without a doubt.

If I was asked that question today – “How’s your heart?” – my answer would be so much different. Healed, not broken. Better, not bitter. And yet just a little bit scarred, but in such a promising way. Scars always remain as reminders of where we were, how far we’ve come, and how we got there. They help us recount what God has done for us and they remind us of who God is – the Great Physician who heals. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually.


  1. Justin Wise said...

    Wow. What a great story... and post! It's well-written (and well laid out :)).

    Great job!

    Dawn Elliott said...
    Loved your story. And Jesus' scars were clearly visible after the resurrection meaning ... probably ours will be as well without the pain and anguish- just the reminder of all we've been through and all the healing God did in our lives. Thanks for sharing!

Post a Comment