About a year ago on his walk home from school Noah was swinging his lunchbox around not paying attention to his surroundings he whacked it up against a tree. It didn’t break, but it did crack. I was able to pop the piece back together and though you could see the crack it still worked just fine for carrying his lunch. For some reasons passing understanding he stopped carrying a lunch box in exchange for a plastic bag so Jim is now using the cracked lunch box.
The crack is still visible but no one pays attention to it until it no longer held in the contents of the lunch. See, Jim had put a container of pickles in his lunch and apparently the lid was not on the pickle container securely because it leaked. If the lunchbox had been properly cared for it may have never had a crack that eventually caused a pickle juice mess in the bottom of Jim’s work bag.
So, why am I telling you this?
Well, that crack reminds me of past hurts. We snap ourselves back into place; seemingly unhurt, undamaged. But eventually our cracks start to ooze out the hurts and the pickle juice is everywhere! Oh, the mess our exposed cracks really do leave! Pickle juice leaves a residue that is sometimes sticky and slimy not to mention a very distinct and hard to get rid of odor.
Hurts are like that too. In an effort to hold in the hurts we say and do things out of pain and hurt that we may have never done to begin with. We speak from a place of pain. We lose a piece of ourselves by just snapping back together a crack rather than dealing with it. We need something more than a quick fix.
I know it seems like the easy thing to just brush yourself off and pretend that thing didn’t happen or that it didn’t hurt you, but it did. There is hope and there is better than the appearance of OK.
One Sunday morning at church I saw a sweet friend of mine and asked her how she was. She sucked her self in and stood tall(or as tall as a 5ft tall person can), gave me a radiant smile that didn’t touch her eyes and said “I’m great”. Not buying it I said “It’s okay not to be great.” and to that she revealed a struggle she was going through. We sometimes need permission not to be great. It’s okay to have bad days, it’s okay for the crack to be visible.
So what do we do when we are not okay?
- Don’t hide it. Find someone you love and trust, who loves you enough to be a soft place to land, and share your heart with them.
- Pray. The Bible says we are His workmanship. He created us and He can restore us.
- Chocolate heals. Yes, I said it. Eat some chocolate in your favorite cozy time.
- Write out your pains. Put them down on a piece of paper not so you linger over them but that you physically release them.
- Take a walk. Now you’ve left them on the paper, get out and move. Shake it off. Breath deep. There is restorative power in a beautiful day with fresh air and seeing how alive the world is.
I am guilty of this too guys, but maybe we can learn this together. We’ll be in each other’s corner reminding each other that it’s okay to process and deal with the hurt.