In light of my last post, I thought I'd give everyone an uncomfortable glance into what the lower portion of my face looked like the day after I fell on it. However, in the event that some of you don't want to look upon such hideousness, I thought I'd better show the "healing in process" photos first. So, here are images of the current state of my countenance.
Scroll down some more.
A little more. Skip right past the next pic, if you'd like.
And here (grimace, cringe) is a "before" photo.
The lessons from this experience keep multiplying. First, I thought the lesson was simple: Don't run, even in jest, when your hands are in your pockets. Foolish. Now I know; lesson learned.
But it turns out the lessons were many. Never minimize the emotional impact of a physical injury. Never assume that something is covered by insurance. Keep your chin up, especially in front of your small child. Try to be a good example, even under duress. Remember the kindnesses of friends, and pay those gestures forward whenever circumstances allow. And so on. And so on.
Then, just as things were getting back to normal, I watched the news and was horrified at a story of another school shooting. Small children, heroic teachers and leaders, a town shaken to its core. I have since turned off the rarely watched television, stopped reading the e-headlines about the event; there's just no point in reliving the awful but familiar stories. It's too upsetting.
Yet something keeps occurring to me, every time I look in the mirror: We are made for healing. Our bodies are designed to knit back together when things are broken. Not all injuries can be undone, I know that. Not all bodies have the same abilities to mend. There are some breaks that can never be repaired, and some defects that are innate and cannot be undone in this life, in this place. Perhaps the young man who caused that school tragedy could have been healed; perhaps not. We'll never know.
But I do know this: Most of our cells keep renewing, splitting and growing, replacing themselves. Our bones, too—with some placement help, our bones know how to join back together. Every time I'm putting oil on my newest scar, each time I rub the oil into my skin and feel the odd, tickling itch that follows, I am reminded that even now, new skin is forming, replacing the damaged. Blood is flowing through that area, bringing the necessary building blocks, bringing life.
Will my face ever be as it was before? No. Will that bleeding Connecticut town? Absolutely not. Healing doesn't mean that it will be the same as it used to be. Often, there are lasting, indelible marks left from pain. Those marks might be tender, or even sore, forever. On the flip side, like in stories of healing from the Bible, the healed person is better than before, not just restored but also improved.
Is it possible that improvement through healing doesn't have to be a flip side? Can scars and healing and improvement all happen simultaneously? Maybe.
I don't know what every type of healing looks like. I know only that healing does happen, and that we were created to heal. I am praying for healing that goes beyond our understanding, for all the people in that little Connecticut town. For people everywhere, in fact.