Our bodies carry our wounds. Some of them are painful reminders of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or of taking our eyes off the road. Some are sacred wounds that remind us of a blessing that happened – perhaps a Cesarean that brought our precious son or daughter into the world. Some are caused by not concentrating on the job at hand; my youngest brother ran his fingers through a table saw. Some are grateful reminders of being saved from death – I carry wounds from a car accident which might have proved fatal had it not been for the rain which created six inches of mud which stopped our car before it hit the wall. A friend of mine carries burn marks over large portions of his body because he went into a burning house to rescue a little child.
Some of the wounds we carry are internal wounds caused by hurt, grief, or sin. I’m talking about scars that grieve your heart and may haunt your dreams. Bad, faulty, or selfish decisions we made which caused fallout we cannot undo. Sometimes our hearts are burdened by the loss of someone very dear to us. Sometimes our hearts are oppressed with guilt and shame because we allowed sin, temptation, fear or moral weakness to have control of us. We might have been swayed to do something hurtful or sinful to others or ourselves. The result: a baby’s life lost to abortion, too many drinks or drugs leading to alcoholism or drug abuse, a marriage destroyed, the loss of custody of children. The list is long.
Some houses bear wounds too — caused from a fire, a terrible storm, perhaps some horrible event that happened there. I once lived in the living room of a house that had been used as a hospital. It was located on Seminary Ridge in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. During the civil war, it was used as a hospital to tend to the wounded of both northern and southern armies. When I lived in that house, there was ugly linoleum on the floor. The living room was lovely with a beautiful fireplace, built in bookcases, and a pleasant view down the hill through the large bay windows. I asked once about that nasty institutional looking linoleum. I was told that at one time the house belonging to a faculty member of the school I was attending. The husband and wife liked to entertain guests, and she couldn’t deal with the floor. The floor was covered in blood. The maintenance crew tried to remove it by sanding it – but it couldn’t be done. There was too much blood, and it had soaked clear through the wood.
Sometimes the wounds we bear are all that we can bear. Sometimes just doing today is all that we can manage. Ultimately there is much about life that is beyond our ability to fix. That is one reason I choose to go to church and turn to God in prayer. I pray for my husband and our life together, for our families, our friends, for our country, for our perseverance, and for our delivery from all who mean us harm and who are working for our undoing. I usually end my prayers with these prayers written by Martin Luther that my grandmother taught me: