This summer, I hurt my finger. I was spot cleaning a rug and felt a POP! and when I lifted my left hand, the middle finger looked, well, freakish.
The middle joint wouldn’t bend and the top joint wouldn’t straighten and after a few phone calls (and several deep, calming breaths) I realized that I had ripped the tendon. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, messing up the tendon on one random finger. Of all the things you could worry about, this isn’t even one of them.
But that tiny tendon on that random finger — a small injury in the grand scope of life — that seemingly insignificant problem was a big deal indeed.
A good friend of ours is an occupational therapist hand specialist, and never before have I so greatly appreciated his expertise. In fact, it wasn’t until this particular injury that I thought much about what he did. A hand is such a small part of the body, right?
Of course not. And now I know and understand the importance of the smallest details God dealt with when he created the human body. And while I don’t recommend finding other things to worry about in life (because this wasn’t anything I’d ever worried about before), I now understand what a giant pain this injury can be.
In order for my tendon to properly heal, I needed to keep the finger perfectly straight for six weeks. I wore a small splint held in place by a small strip of tape, and one week in the splint came off and I had to start over, another six weeks from then.
The splint needed to be removed and dried when it got wet, so every time I washed dishes or washed my hands or bathed the babies, I would remove the splint, dry everything, and put it back together (while keeping my left middle finger perfectly straight).
None of this sounds like too big of a deal. Not now, seven weeks later. I got the splint off a few days ago and I’m amazed at how nice it is not to have it on — but also how much I’d gotten used to it. I’d learn, when washing my hands, to keep that finger out of the water. I’d learned to adapt to pouring milk and combing my hair and even typing (which was a disaster early on). Much quicker than I thought, I learned to live with this injury.
But even with my adjustments, it was a bit of a pain and I certainly wasn’t working at optimum speed or agility. I learned to deal with it but the situation wasn’t as good as it could be.
I’ve been thinking lately about wounds, how we as humans live with our wounds. We have these wounds — ways of relating, how we deal with other people, how we’re able to give and receive love — and it’s all based on our own history and life experience.
And for some of us, in some areas, there can be real pain and hurt. We can have a past that makes us the walking wounded (don’t we all have that potential in certain areas), that makes us live life with less freedom that we could have.
It’s important to deal with our wounds, to try to be the best version of ourself we can be. It’s easy to learn to live with our wounds, and operate just fine but not at our optimum.
For a long time I thought in terms of dealing with wounds and getting “fixed” as something to do with being closer to the person God made me to be, but for God’s sake.
The truth is, God loves us just as we are. He can see through the hurts and wounds, he is so overcome with love for us that we would be speechless if we understood those depths. The truth is we don’t need to be perfect for God.
But we can be closer to perfection, to who God wants us to be, to better serve Him. That is at the heart of the freedom God gives — that we can be His hands and feet, that we can love the people He calls us to love.
This originally appeared in The Southern Cross.