Wounds need car jack, not time


After getting past the general disappointment bedtime always seems to bring?no matter that it comes at the same time every evening, there are always moans and groans?it becomes an endearing time for our family.

We cuddle and read books with babies in footies. We tuck each child in under special blankets and we place each child?s worn stuffed animal into waiting arms. We pray and sing songs.

And then my middle will ask, ?Mommy, is tomorrow the next day??

Time is a nondescript thing that takes awhile for kids to understand. Time can be referenced in the obvious ways: seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years. It can also be referenced in random, vague or cliche descriptions.

For instance, for toddlers, time might be best understood by the length of a ?Curious George? episode. I use that reference in describing drive times. A trip to Newton takes two episodes?which, to a daughter who gets carsick, is two episodes too long.

As a mom, ?time is fleeting? is apparent when I listen to my child?who was once a sweet, helpless newborn?read ?Little House on the Prairie,? and I wonder where time went.

?That was an eternity? might be well-placed after a lengthy meeting, or when my youngest cries for an hour after waking because he wanted egg instead of Cheerios, or oatmeal instead of toast, or Cheerios instead of a bagel for his breakfast.

Time can be a lot of things. But one description I don?t buy into is that of time as a healer. You know, the good ol? ?time heals all wounds? adage.

The image of time as a healer is deceptive and unrealistic. Russell Friedman, on a website called ?The Grief Recovery Method,? compared the quote to a flat tire. He asks, ?If you arrive at your car in the parking lot and see it has a flat tire, would you pull up a chair and sit and wait for air to jump back into your tire??

Well, no. The answer is obvious. I would pull out my trusty cell phone, call my husband, and THEN sit and wait. Or, if well-versed in tire-changing procedure, you jack up the car, put on the spare and take the other tire to the shop for repair.

Sitting and waiting is futile. As is expecting time to heal all wounds.

Rose Kennedy said, ?It has been said, ?time heals all wounds.? I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.?

If you?ve ever experienced deep grief, you know the place from which Rose speaks. It?s a place of an altered present because of a past reality. I know that place well.

And she?s right. The wounds are never really gone.

But they can be turned into something beauti?ful…although not without some sweat and tears (kind of like what might happen if I had to change a tire by myself without instruction.)

A year ago, I spent the weekend at Women?s Encounter. Following that weekend, I wrote about it in a column titled, ?Walls Can Protect or Confine,? and I shared the importance of that event in my life.

I spent my Encounter weekend at the foot of the cross, with walls crumbling around me. For me, that experience was the catalyst I needed to journey into a process of healing from life-induced grief?including the death of my brother when I was in high school.

Time is a funny thing, because I still think of Encounter on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis, even though I came home more than 365 days ago. The event had a profound impact, and I feel lucky that it seems like just yesterday.

The healing that started over a special weekend full of testimony and teaching keeps pushing me forward as time marches on. (See, I told you time descriptions can be cliche.)

Are the wounds still there? Yes. Will they always be there? Maybe.

But at least now I have a car jack.

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