First comes the wound, then the bleeding, shortly thereafter the pain surfaces, and then we have to make a choice.
Do you leave it open to heal on its own, leaving yourself vulnerable to infection and complications?
Or do you put a bandage over it and keep going, regardless of how the wound develops?
Or do you do the sensible thing and have it seen by a doctor?
For years I was the second type, believing in psychological and spiritual bandages that held me together but never really addressed the problem. This therefore meant that I became a walking time bomb over the years, accumulating baggage that became heavier to carry and were never unpacked and sorted out. At some point, however, the strength and the courage run out and all the bandages begin to weaken. They were never meant to be permanent fixes, so the cracks become breaking points.
Obviously we are not talking about simple cuts and bruises here, but deep wounds that slice through flesh and leave ugly scars. No matter what social standards tell us, pain is not a sign of weakness, it is an indicator of our humanity quotient. The ability to feel pain, especially emotional pain, also means that we are able to form attachments, place importance to the person or persons, and therefore value their role in our life. In my book, pain is an affirmation of our ability to love. We can argue another day about the various definitions of love, but for today suffice it to say that the old cliche that we are only hurt by those we love, is true on so many levels.
Losing a colleague or acquaintance with whom we had no personal attachment to triggers regret and maybe even a bit disappointed at what could have been or what we failed to do. If something doesn’t go right at work or with a project, we are annoyed, frustrated, and disappointed, perhaps all three on a bad day, often wishing you could have had more time or courage. But we grieve over broken relationships, shattered marriages, and departure of parents or children.
A line caught my eye on Pinterest, of all places, the other day that went something to the tune of “To heal a wound you need to stop touching it.” There are so many ways of looking at this, but for me it is about accepting the wound, embracing the pain, giving the scar a name, and moving on. Easier said than done, yes, because there are a million and one reasons to keep that would open until it poisons the rest of my soul. I am at the point where I want to heal, but can’t stop fidgeting with the wounds just yet.
What has Prague taught me?
1. There is no shame in pain and
2. I can’t heal on my own this time.
There was a time in my life when I could be proud of my scars, but I have picked up so many along the way that I forgot which ones I was supposed to be proud of and which ones bring me shame. They are all one big blur at the moment.