In early February a piece of gymnastics equipment crashed on my hand during a meet I was coaching. It resulted in an open wound on my right palm and ring finger so gruesome that my spouse vomited twice in the Emergency Room. Two months later, I am going to occupational therapy twice a week to break up a piece of scar tissue on my palm that slightly resembles a sixth finger. The unwelcome growth is sensitive and changes color like a mood ring. I want it to go away.
Last week while my therapist was doing ultra sound on the bump my co-worker has affectionately named Bessie, she looked at me and said simply, “You must be a good healer. This closed up fast.” Initially, I took this as a compliment. Being a former gymnast myself, I have always been in complete awe of the body and the power it has to put me back together with no permission or motivation or oversight from my conscious brain. And I like being good and thorough and efficient at everything that I do, including healing.
But I don’t think she meant it as a compliment. There is, after all, such a thing as healing too quickly. The bump of scar tissue on my right palm is now a constant reminder to me of one truth: If we do not take our time healing, the scar can hurt more than the wound itself. Healing, physically or otherwise, cannot be rushed. It must be tended to patiently, nurtured with great care. The only way out is through. There are no shortcuts as we emerge from pain. We must sit in the suffering, dwell in the brokenness, live into the healing without controlling or coercing. If we heal too rashly, the scars will be treated like foreign appendages instead of character that tells our story.