Jeannine Lee Apr 18, 2020

A Wound to the Hand Teaches About a Wound to the Heart

About a month ago I cut my hand—deeply—while using a chop saw to cut boards into firewood. I was in a rhythm. Place, cut, lift handle/blade, swipe cut piece into a pile. But one time I swiped too soon. The blade hadn’t lifted all the way. Luckily I only saw the tendons; I did not cut them.

There was nothing left to stitch, so I just pulled the skin together as best I could and used butterfly bandages to hold it closed. Then I splinted it so I wouldn’t accidentally bend the knuckle and pop it open. The smaller wounds on my fingers were ok with bandages.

Wounds of the Heart

I’ve watched the healing process take place over the last month, and of course, as I always do, I look for the life metaphors in it. Life is always teaching us.

The first thing I noticed…

…Is that the shallower cuts on my fingers healed first. So it is with the emotional wounds in our lives, some cuts are deeper than others. Some we get over more quickly than others. Sometimes our hearts are so gashed open there is nothing to stitch back together. We do our best to patch it back together, hold it closed, stop the bleeding while we assess the damages. We may become immobilized on the spot, barricading and building walls, in an effort to protect it.

The next thing I noticed…

…Is that healing has taken place from the inside out. The wound has become shallower over time as deeper tissues were healed first. I think our hearts heal that way too. It can seem like we’re not getting better, not healing, cuz dang it, it still hurts. But the body’s focus has been on deeper healing, first. And sometimes some “stuff” that doesn’t belong there has to be moved out of the way so healing can take place. It’s all part of the process.

As the wound has knit back together, I’ve started doing more and more, after all, there is wood to chop and snow to shovel, but then I had to knock that off because I kept opening it up again. I was back to the splint. When our hearts are broken we want to get back into our usual routine. We push past the pain and claim ourselves healed when maybe we aren’t quite yet. Maybe we need to be still for a little while longer and continue to heal—especially before we put ourselves back into heart-risky situations.

Another thing I noticed…

..Is how long it takes to heal a deep wound. I’ve had scratches and scrapes and minor wounds before that heal fairly quickly. Not this one. Even though I want it to be fixed, and need it to be fixed to be able to function in my daily life, it’s simply going to take as long as it takes. It’s the same with wounds of the heart. All my wishing and hoping isn’t going to make the healing go any faster.

I share this so that the next time your heart is wounded you will think of the healing process of a physical wound and be patient with yourself and give yourself the time you need to heal. Just because it is a wound you can’t see, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Be gentle with yourself.