It doesn’t actually work like that. Not really.
They say time heals all things. This is true. But it is also true that it depends what you do with that time. You can sit on the edge of your bed for 3 years waiting for healing and still feel like you are in a raging inferno. The passing of time alone does not stop wounds from festering.
Healing happens to be a much more complicated process than I initially realised. I remember as a little girl lying sick in bed and waiting to feel better. I hated taking medicine. I would feign swallowing the pills and as soon as my Mother was out the door I would spit the disgusting stuff out. Even back then I had this belief that my little body would heal itself.
I’ve come a long way from those days. There are many times when the body can heal itself…but we have become a generation that is known to pop pills even for a scratch so our bodies have also adjusted. They almost always need our help to heal.
Even then, the body is still an absolute wonder. Truly and truly. It is capable of two kinds of healing;
Regeneration – the process by which restoration of health is achieved by damaged cells being replaced by new cells that form similar tissue as was originally there.
Repair – in this process, the injured tissue is replaced with scar tissue.
Most of the organs in our body will heal using a mixture of both mechanisms.
I have been thinking about healing because I have been watching and observing my heart as it recovers from a heartbreak. In the process, old wounds festered and I’ve had to face those too.
Healing non-physical wounds can be incredibly hard. Unfortunately, this is one area we cannot heal through regeneration. Our only option…for now…is to repair what is damaged and carry the scars for a lifetime. But, you know what they say about scars 😉
Wound healing is even more fascinating. After the initial clot formation to stop the bleeding, a wound then produces cells that kill bacteria and releases damaged tissue. This damaged tissue is sometimes releases as part of a white-yellow or yellow-brown substance we commonly know as pus. And travelling in this pus are any toxins that the body ejects from the site of inflammation. Without this important ejection of toxins and tissue, this stuff would stay in the body and we might as well kiss healing goodbye.
Last Saturday, on my way to church, I hit upon a wall. As I sat on the bus, my head safely leaning against the window, I felt this deep sorrow that unhinged the depths of my soul. I was thinking about why the man I thought was the one was not the one, and why that fact alone threatened to bury me in a grave of hopelessness. I had given my all in terms of how I showed up for him. He took and took and took and that is all he gave in return – his taking. The few moments spent in his mesmerizing presence were beautiful but whenever I was apart from him, the beauty faded away and I was left grasping for the mist. The doubts would flood in. There was nothing secure. And yet, I kept going back for more. I was like an addict going back for more heroin. But it was utterly hopeless because the high never lasted.
As I shut my eyes against the tears that flooded my being, it suddenly dawned on me that I was carrying toxins deep within me. This man I loved was not good for me. He was toxic. And expulsion is the only worthy door left to open.
This is the beauty of the healing process, it is never complete until all the toxins are released and you’re healthy again. And so, if needed, you will be cut open again and again and again…whatever is necessary to bring you to wholeness.
We forget that a broken heart is a sick heart; that brokenness is a disease that requires healing. This is why we have wounded people walking around and wounded people cannot have wholesome, out-of-this-world relationships.
We carry around wounded hearts because frankly, most of us give up on this healing mumble jumble or maybe we just don’t have time for it – it’s too hard, it’s too painful, too exhausting, too much. It’s easier to pretend it doesn’t really bother us or doesn’t matter. And so that is what we do. This is a tragedy of tragedies.
I cannot heal you. Nor can I tell you what your healing will be like. I can only tell you what I’m learning;
Healing will bring you to your knees. You will not be able to hide. You will have to come out in the open and face the hail and storm. It is hard work. But the work humbles you and you are never the same person again.
So instead of grabbing healing by the horns, you need to take it by the hand. Because sometimes it will lead you. Other times, you will have to be the one out in front directing your healing. It is not a war, it is a partnership.
And when all is said and done, you will come into a clearing. You will be healed, at least as far as human healing goes. Your heart will be healthy again and hopefully, wiser too. And that is definitely worth all the pain in the world.
So, take your healing. Take it. By the hand.
We need less wounded people in the world, surely.