1. Don't get your thumb between a rock and pick axe.
2. If it bleeds out the end of the nail, that's a good thing because you won't have to get it drilled to relieve pressure. (Trust me, this is going somewhere)
3. Pain has a way of recalibrating your mind in a way that nothing else can.
4. There is very little you can do to make the pain go away.
5. Pain goes away over time, but the throbbing may stick around a while.
6. Your nail is going to look gross for quite a while.
7. You will probably loose the nail.
8. You get a new nail. Not the same one, or better one, but a new one.
A couple of weeks ago I got my thumb between a rock and pick axe trying to pull a rock out of a stone wall. The rock came loose along with the pick axe, sliding over the top of the rock and my thumb as I pulled on the rock with the other hand. (Sorry, no diagrams) My thumbnail remains the wonderful color seen above. It no longer hurts, but it looks gross,and I can begin to feel it loosen from the nail bed.
The moment I did it, it hurt like crazy and began to bleed out the end. A friend, a professional carpenter, said " Good thing its bleeding or'd we have to drill it." Upon which I promptly laid on the kitchen floor and felt queasy. Ice made it feel a bit better, but for the most part it just hurt and there was little I could do about it.
In the same moment I got it. I really got it. Cutting. I understood why some people, predominately women, cut themselves. It releases pain in a controlled manner and takes your mind off emotional pain that seems out of control. I totally forgot about my anxiety. The haunting of possible worst case scenarios disappeared in a flash because I had a more immediate issue, real pain. Black, red,and purple pain.
The blessing was that it bled immediately. I didn't have to go through more pain to relieve pressure. Life is not always that immediate, and we seldom look at current pain as a blessing to relieve future pain.
After the initial pain left, it began to throb like crazy. It wasn't as painful, but it was still hard to ignore. My entire being was consumed with one small area of my body. Again, lesson learned. A part that seemed to be less honorable suddenly became the focus of the entire physical plant.
The nail to this day looks gross. Sometimes the pain we endure leaves a mark that remains, even scars. Ever wonder why Jesus came back scared? Proof of healing. We try to hide scars as much as possible. Why? OK, so they're not lovely, but they are proof of healing. Proof of wounds that have been healed. I understand people may want to forget the trauma that caused them in the first place, but scars serve a purpose. They can help us avoid future mistakes, or remind us of how God healed a wound.
The nail is surely coming off. I can see it separating from the nail bed. Something that I took for granted and caused so much pain in a split moment will be lost. Loss is an inevitable part of life. We loose things all the time. Some by our own doing. Sometimes they're just taken away. Whether you're prepared for it or not, the loss typically feels sudden.
I am getting a new nail. It's not better than the old one, or improved, just new. Often people believe or say, " Oh, it's OK, God will give you something better, something better than you ever expected." They read the end of Job wrong. Job didn't receive all his stuff back, he received new stuff. His children weren't restored, he had new kids. He had abundance, and that is good stuff, but abundance doesn't necessarily heal the pain of loss. Job probably still grieved the loss of his former children. God could have restored all his old stuff back, but he didn't. He gave him new things. New things are just that. They're new, but that doesn't mean they're better.
In the weeks to come, the old nail will fall off and a new nail will take its place. I will soon forget about the old nail and move on with my life.
My prayer is that I recognize the lessons of my smashed thumb in other people's lives. There appears to be alot of smashed thumbs out there.
I pray that I can learn to just sit with people in the pain, and encourage them to seek the Lord, giving thanks in all things. I'm still learning to do this myself.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Posted by George Atkins at 4:16 PM