When Time Heals Wounds

The end of the year is always a time where we step back and look at where we’ve been, what we’ve done, and realize how brutal this journey of life can be at times.  Earlier today, a friend expressed how fresh the scars are now that someone they deeply cared about was no longer present in their life.  It is painful, and many times we cannot find the words to express the feelings that boil up within us.

Sometimes people walk out of our lives.  Sometimes they are taken from us.  And too often we turn our backs on people who care about us and an empty void stands in their place.

Humans are a social breed.  Even the most introverted of us desire the presence of others.  Companions on the journey.  Fellowship of community.  Friends.  Lovers.  We were created in a way that drives us to seek others.  When you take that away from us, even a single relationship, there will be emptiness where that life once was.

After reading this friends status, an image came to my mind that I never thought of before.  I guess I’ve seen it so often that I just never put it into the context of relationships, loosing those that we love, and healing the wounds caused by neglect.  This is what I shared with her:

After a wildfire, the ground is scorched and blackened.  In time the grasses break through and an abundance of small petals emerge from the ashes. It is the most beautiful sight. It may hurt now, but time heals all wounds.  They will always be there, they are part of who we are now, but there are and will always be people that love you unconditionally.  God gives us the strength we need.

Many of us have driven past the scarred landscapes where fire has ripped a path through the wilderness.  Out west, thousands of acres each year are blackened by flames.  Across the nation, prescribed fire operations (prescribed burns) use these same flames to cut through the debris and underbrush.  We look at the ashes and we ask ourselves if anything can ever return from this devastation.

But return a couple of months later, after the healing rains have cooled the scorched earth and you will find wildflowers, native grasses, and a host of animals thriving over the scars.  You can still see the pain that ripped across the landscape, the blackened stumps, snags, and logs, but the beauty of the new growth shows us that life doesn’t end in the flames.

The same is true for relationships.  It hurts when people are no longer there beside us.  There is an emptiness when you reach out to hold someone’s hand and they are no longer there.  It’s painful to part ways and realize that the bridges have been torn down.  What was so strong is now only a memory and we are left wondering what went wrong.

Many times we look back and see the scars beginning to fade, but they will always be there.  It’s said that time heals all wounds, but in truth, time only diminishes the pain as we learn to live with it.  We are all scarred in some way or another.  Wounds fade and beauty can be found in the scars if we care to look and learn from those experiences.

I’ve learned through serving with AmeriCorps on conservation projects that sometimes the land needs help healing, so we spread native seeds aver the ashes of a burned area.  In the same way, bridges don’t rebuild themselves and we can never return to the way things once were with relationships we seek to rebuild.

We will never be the same, because the scars of yesterday have made us who we are today.  And who we are today and the choices we make to continue to hate or to forgive in this moment define who we will be tomorrow.

Just some thoughts…

God Bless and PEACE

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