I have a dog named Jim. Jim is about 5 years old, and roughly 105 pounds. He is a good dog, very sweet, and wonderful with my two small children. Recently, Jim had to have surgery to repair a torn ACL and remove bone spurs around his knee. This left him with a wound about 6 inches long, closed together with staples.
He's handled it far better than I would, I have to say. Almost immediately, he was able to limp outside to potty (sorry - that's the toddler mom in me coming out - I should've said "to relieve himself."), and he's hardly cried at all.
The biggest challenge we've faced is that Jim wants to lick his wound. And if left alone, that's what he would do. He would crawl into the corner, face the wall, and lick his wound. To keep him from doing this, we have to keep him in one of those big, plastic, doggy clown collars. Pretty funny looking, but they keep him from making a serious mistake.
To lick his wounds is his natural instinct, but there's a problem. It pulls at his stitches, and puts him at great risk for infection. And infection, of course, could kill him.
It struck me today...how like Jim I am. And no "looking like a dog" comments, please. Don't we, as people in general, tend to do the same thing when we're hurting, emotionally? We do. We pull away. We hide in the corner. We face the wall because we don't want anyone to see us cry. And we lick our wounds. And if left untended to, our wounds get infected.
So just for funsies, I looked up the definition of infection. "Invasion by and multiplication of pathogenic microorganisms in a bodily part or tissue, which may produce subsequent tissue injury and progress to overt disease through a variety of cellular or toxic mechanisms." Yikes! So how does that translate to us, emotionally? Let's paint a little picture with an example. I'll tell you a story that happened to someone I know. We'll call her...oh, let's see...we'll call her Rebecca.
When "Rebecca" was in 7th grade, up in beautiful Shoreview, Minnesota, she was in gym class one day. And the class was divided into teams. And because the gym teacher was cruel and sadistic, she let the two captains pick the teams. One captain called out a name, then that individual joined the ranks of the chosen. Jerry something or other was captain number one, and I...I mean, "Rebecca," doesn't remember the name of captain number two.
Guess who was picked last? Me. And guess what Jerry said right after whining that he was "stuck" with me? He told me that I had a big nose, and that I'd never have a boyfriend. That sounds so stupid, doesn't it? It was 1987, for heavens sake. But I never forgot it. In fact, I remembered it on the morning of my wedding day.
Look back at the definition of infection. Invasion by and multiplication of pathogenic microorganisms.....Jerry's comments were certainly an invasion. And you know what they did over time? They multiplied in my mind. What started out as a hurt led to bitterness, anger, and a need for revenge. Does this sound familiar to you? What invaded your peace of mind? A break-up? A mean comment? Are you a victim of life's unexpected cruelties? Maybe you've lost someone. Maybe you're trying to have a child. Maybe you've been passed over at work, or lost your job. Whatever it is, please.....please don't let it multiply and infect your spirit. Friend, Jesus is the only one who can truly heal you of this.
Here is something that I find truly AMAZING. Jesus tells His disciples to do His work after He's gone...and listen to this analogy....and tell me it's not divine. Matthew 5:13, "You are the salt of the earth......" Salt has 3 purposes. To preserve, to give flavor, and to HEAL. You have a sore throat, gargle with salt water. A dip in the ocean will help to heal a skinned knee. The salt of the earth will surely heal your heart. (I did not come up with this on my own, btw. This beautiful analogy can be found in Sharon Jaynes' "Experience the Ultimate Makeover.")
Nothing spoils the flavor of our lives more than bitterness. Nothing is more exhausting than lugging around a heart full of hurts. So I'll leave you with this. It healed my heart...and it will heal yours...
Matthew 11:28 - "Then Jesus said, 'Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.'"
Isn't it time to put your burdens down? Here...have a little salt...