A couple years ago, I got my largest tattoo. It's on my forearm, and it's a cardinal.
The guy who gave it to me is famous for his "Deep Needle" technique, which makes the color more vibrant and slower to fade. Needless to say, it hurt so bad that all I could do after was drive down to the Texas Inn and eat a cheesy western with a bunch of fat redneck men whose butts were hanging off the barstools. It's the only thing that made sense at the time.
Then I went home and waited for it to heal, and I learned something about healing in that time that made sense to me (in a concrete, visible way, which is the only way I can learn). I learned that healing is ugly, itchy, uncomfortable, and it takes no pains to go faster because I want it to. Healing means the scabs come slowly, make your life hell (and require incredible will power not to scratch off, thus ruining the entire tattoo), and fall off one by one at a rate you have no control over.
I thought about this again today, as there are many people who I love dearly, and some who I only kind of know, who are hurting and who need healing. I wish there is something I could do to help, some kind of salve I could offer.
You know that old phrase "Healing takes time?" It is totally annoying when people say that. But it has stuck around so long because there is truth behind it.
Healing physically is an ugly, itchy thing.
And just like we would clean our wounds, wrapping them carefully to keep the outside world at bay, favoring them while they bind,
-- we must do the same with our wounds that don't bleed. And just because we can't see them doesn't mean they don't heal the same way. They itch and scab, they cause us pain, and they heal in a timing not created or scheduled by us.
So spirit, soul, mind, emotions, memory, body - whatever the wound - clean, wrap, bind, and favor it. Read scripture. Stretch or walk. Drink big cups of tea. Rest. Quiet yourself. And in someone else's time....