My youngest son Zackery had a mishap at the start of summer holidays last year. He was sliding into home base in the backyard and slid into a tree root. He gashed open the bottom of his heel pretty deeply and after trying to clean it up, I finally took him to the Emergency Room at Children's Hospital. After waiting for awhile, we got into a treatment room and they had him soaking his foot in an antiseptic cleanser to try and get as much of the dirt out as possible. After re-examining the gash, they decided to go ahead and stitch it, so we (or I did, actually) applied a topical freezing gel, and then the doctor froze the area more deeply using needles. Every time that needle plunged into his heel, Zackery cried out in pain. Once the doctor started stitching, Zackery screamed every time that needle went in, even though the doctor said he shouldn't be feeling anything. Zackery felt immense pain with every stitch. It was heartwrenching for me to have to hold him down and to try and comfort him when pain was being inflicted on him ... even though we knew it was for a good reason. One of the nurses actually told me she had once cut her foot in a similar place and the pain she felt when she was stitched up ranked right there next to childbirth.
All that said, I've noticed in the past number of months that Zackery has changed when it comes to pain. He used to be fearless and ready to take on the world and whatever it handed to him. Now he won't let anyone wiggle a loose tooth or pull it out -- he's got to do it himself. If he gets a sliver, he's the one that has to pull it out. It's like he doesn't trust that anyone isn't going to inflict pain and he's doing whatever he can to protect himself from physical pain. I believe that day in the ER when he was getting stitched up, he made a vow of self-protection (he might not know it though) to not let anyone hurt him physically again.
I've made vows like that too -- as a means of self-protection when I've been hurt by someone relationally, I have internally vowed that I'm not going to allow myself to be in such a vulnerable position where I could be hurt like that again. Often those vows are made sub-consiously, without planning or forethought; we just know we don't want to be hurt again and we'll do what we need to do to protect ourselves.
So how do I reconcile that with the call of Jesus to love my neighbour ... and how do I keep loving my neighbour when they keep hurting me? Do I just put keep putting myself out there knowing I'm going to be hurt again? I guess the next big question is, do I trust Jesus enough to take care of all those hurts and to mend my emotional well-being when I get hurt again?
Once a year ... REALLY?!?!
4 years ago