This past December I was preparing my classroom for another life changing Business lesson when I did something that would take half a year to recover. I have vivid memories of this event such as where exactly I was standing, the students who were there and the shoes I had on (that one will make sense in a second). The lesson that day was on efficiency and we were going to do a simulation of Henry Ford’s assembly line when suddenly I did something very inefficient. Very painful as well.
I dropped a desk directly on my big toe.
The entire class sighed and then froze in order to gauge my reaction. You know that kind of pain that starts out normal but then builds and builds until it is downright unbearable? You know the pain, right? The kind that makes you light-headed and forces you to decide, “Do I scream obscenities as loud as I can or do I just lay down in the fetal position?” I actually chose neither and to my credit I calmly limped into my office across the hall (which was empty so I have no witnesses) and grunted for a few minutes until I regained enough composure to go back and attempt to teach.
I was sure that it was broken. I mean I have never broken a toe but the pain was actually worse than the times I have broken fingers in the past. Incredibly, it was not broken but it was downright nasty for several weeks. Bloody, black and blue and swollen to about twice its normal size. One of my daughters was literally obsessed with it and asked to see it like everyday as if it was going to magically go back to normal just one day after being hideously deformed. Well, this past summer while visiting my girls in Colorado the nail finally fell off and both girls were very much interested in Daddy’s hurt toe again. They were confused because they thought I had hurt it again and it was a lost cause trying to explain to them that it was from that time before Christmas when Daddy came home with a swollen, bloody toe.
There is another day that involves unspeakable pain that I will never forget. These hurtful memories are etched in my mind like a stone carving. This time the pain was not self-inflicted and not accidental. This event was severe and will take years, maybe decades to heal.
Why then do I expect the people who were blindsided by these atrocities to heal quickly? Why do I think that it can disappear overnight? My impatience, insensitivity, and selfishness rivals that of my 4 year old. Don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful for the friends and family that have already forgiven and shown me amazing love and support. But I have come to understand (and accept) that everyone heals differently and everyone processes in their own way.
Does time heal all wounds? I’m not sure. It finally healed my toe; I trimmed the new nail for the first time a few weeks ago. Emotional wounds sometimes take much longer and unfortunately sometimes never heal at all. I hope and pray for healing for all those I have hurt. Hopefully I have learned a lesson watching my daughter: stop wondering everyday if the healing has taken place.
Just leave the wound alone and let it be.