The fact that we could have died – or rather, were supposed to be dead – kept playing in my head over and over in the days following the accident on the 30th of December, 2015.
These words were accompanied by flashbacks of me accelerating so as not to fall down the gravel bank and then afterwards reaching to feel if my sisters were okay whilst we rolled over, three times – our car bouncing like it was a toy – and landed in the middle of the highway.
We’re alive with no bones broken, and the worst injury was a tar burn on my elbow from when the windscreen glass shattered while we were rolling and I blocked my face with my arms.
“Time’s the best healer, embeds deep in us the memories as scars are left to map out the truth…” – Eden Myrrh, Time
SOME LESSONS I LEARNT FROM THE HEALING PROCESS
- Pain increased my ability for compassion:
The small spot of burn on my elbow was very awkward and painful, and during a cleaning-with-antiseptic-and-burn session I started wondering how it must be for people who have burns all over their limbs or faces. I can’t even imagine how painful that must be. The pain elicited a vulnerability (humility!) and compassion for others in worse situations than me and even bred a deep thankfulness that this was all that I had to endure.
Compassion increases our ability to see the need and address it (like Jesus did countless times with the crowds that came to him). Sometimes compassion only comes once we have gone through the pain – because before then, our pride or self-righteousness blinded us to the pain of others.
“Since you are all set apart by God, made holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a holy way of life: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Put up with one another. Forgive. Pardon any offenses against one another, as the Lord has pardoned you, because you should act in kind. But above all these, put on love! Love is the perfect tie to bind these together. Let your hearts fall under the rule of the Anointed’s peace (the peace you were called to as one body), and be thankful” Colossians 3:12-15 (The Voice)
- Healing can be awkward:
The burn was very sensitive for many days and because it was situated in an awkward place (on my elbow) the skin was stretching constantly and so took longer to heal. We’re human and we are living on this planet called earth, with other people. That means that things are bound to happen – good and bad. Sometimes, it’s just when you feel you’re getting over that heartbreak or that friendship splitting that something else happens that stretches your wound a little bit.
Things are never straightforward and we don’t have the luxury of going to hide in a closet, unseen, until we get better emotionally, physically, and psychologically – even though it would be nice. The trick is to continually ask God for a soft heart or else we end up rrrrrrrreal jaded.
“Help me hear joy and happiness as my accompaniment, so my bones, which You have broken, will dance in delight instead.” Psalm 51:8 (The Voice)
- Don’t allow your wounds to get infected – go to the doctor:
After a few days I started to feel dizzy and weak, and a thick soggy yellow skin developed over my wound. I went to the doctor, who told me that the yellow skin was keeping an infection in. In order for the wound to heal properly I had to either peel off the skin myself after I cleaned it each night, or I had to come back to them in three days and they would scrape it off. I was determined that the later would not happen and so, I set off (after a nice tetanus injection and some antibiotics) to soak my wound in salt water and get that thing off.
After I did get it off, I found two pieces of red paint (the colour of the car I was driving) lodged comfortably in the middle there – obviously the cause of the infection. If I had stayed at home and never went to see anyone for help I would have most probably gotten very sick. The right medication and direction left me in a position to better care for my wound.
Your pastors and leaders in your local church are just like doctors. They’ve been through a ton of this stuff and have a ton more wisdom; they also know what to prescribe to you and will always point you to Jesus. I am an independent person, in every sense of the word. I like to do things for myself – suck it up and get over it, but I’ve had to learn to approach the “doctors” that Jesus has put in place for me. I’ve had to learn that staying away from my local church community is not healthy. Often, I’ve allowed my wounds to fester when I’ve not kept myself accountable to someone who could see the problem, address it and quickly help me with a solution – even if it was something I did not like.
“A leader of good judgment gives stability” Proverbs 29:4 (The Message)
- Scars Make Us Stronger?
For some reason my skin doesn’t heal very easily and my battle scars are all very clear on my arms and hands – I’ve tried all the oils and ointments that I know of, or that are normally recommended, and nothing has worked. It makes a person slightly self-conscious, and for me, the thought of yet another scar on my arm was the worst thing ever.
Just as much as I cringe at the thought of another physical scar I also cringe at the thought of ever having to have yet another emotional or mental scar. Then, I heard about Kintsugi, which is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer, dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum. As a philosophy, it treats the breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something that one must disguise. It says that broken is better than new.
You see, while we would all like to walk around brand new, life is about the breaking. It wouldn’t be if man hadn’t sinned, but man did. To me, my whole life is a “Kintsugi fest”. Jesus is the potter and I am the clay. He molds me how he pleases, and when I get wounded or break, I go to him, the Master Potter, to repair me. In order for me to be better than I was new, I have to go through the uncomfortable process (don’t underrate the process!) of being pieced back together. It’s interesting that only the best materials are used for the mending of the pottery in the Kintsugi art form, and I’d like to liken that to each of our lives. Jesus, however, is worth more than gold, silver or platinum will ever be, and repair by anything else, and any other way will ruin us and leave us breaking again.
“Still, Eternal One, You are our Father. We are just clay and you are the Potter. We are the product of Your creative action, shaped and formed into something of worth!” Isaiah 64:8 (The Voice)
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