The Dark Room…

It was a perfect spring day.  The fragrance of the brightly colored flower buds poking through the damp soil of the garden filled the air.  The air was fresh, crisp and clean.  The temperature was at that sweet spot between slightly cool, yet comfortable.  The sunshine was warm and gentle breezes stroked the hair of the Princess. The Princess looked beautiful as she meandered through the wooded garden.  Everything about her world seemed to be perfect.  Nothing was out of place in her life and no situation overshadowed that would cause distress.  All was a picture of perfect peace and beauty.  Or so it appeared…

The Princess enjoyed her daily journey but had wandered farther than usual today.  Intrigued by what was beyond her normal path, just a little farther over the next hill and just around the next curve, she found herself in a thickly forested area.  Her path was now a little unclear and the realization was setting in that she could, quite possibly be lost.  Should she stay where she was until someone found her or should she try to find her way back home?  It was late in the afternoon now and the sun would be going down soon.  She surly did not want to spend the night in a dark forest with wild creatures.  That was not the place for a Princess to be.  The possibilities were frightening.  She must try to find her way home.

Having lost her sense of direction, the Princess chose the path that seemed to be more clearly marked.  As she passed through a particularly thick area of underbrush, she came to a small clearing.  In front of her was a weathered little house, very tiny actually, like a child’s playhouse.  This was strangely familiar to the princess.  It seemed as if it had been a part of her life many years past, yet her memory of it was so vague.  As she hesitantly approached, she could see peeling paint, smudged broken glass windows, and pieces of shingles that had been eaten away by time.  There was a tiny porch, just big enough to hold the little rocking chair that was still in its place.

The Princess cautiously placed her weight on the rotted step to the porch.  The cob web covered front door was slightly open.  The Princess could see objects in the room but it was too dark to make out what was inside, yet she had a strange sense that these objects meant something to her.  An unexplainable, anxious fear began to overtake her as her shaking hand neared the door knob.  The princess quickly pulled back her hand.  She couldn’t do it.  She just could not enter that dark room.  Why, she did not know.

She was surprised by the hot tears she felt streaming down her cheeks.  A rushing wave of indefinable emotion brought her to her knees.  With her face buried in the silky folds of her beautiful gown, the Princess gave in to the sobs that came from a deep, unfamiliar place.  The sobbing seemed to last for hours and darkness had now overtaken the forest.  Too weak to move on, this is where she would spend the night.  Cold and alone, the Princess curled up on the dusty, rotted, wooden porch of the tiny play house in the forest.  What wild creatures of the night were out there, maybe even watching her?  What dangers await her in this dark and lonely place?  What nightmares were lurking in the hours just beyond the point of sleep?  Overwhelmed by exhaustion, the princess closed her eyes, hoping the light of day would come quickly.

To be continued…

Have you ever found yourself standing before a door you were afraid to open?  A room of uncertainty, you were afraid to enter?

Healing Hurts – A Story With Two Endings

Years go my youngest son, age two at the time, experienced severe burns to his chin, chest and arm.  I was entertaining guests that day and had just poured boiling water into cups for tea.  My son, who was a particularly adventurous and curious child, just had to know what I had poured into those cups.  I did not notice that he had tottered up behind me.  Unaware of the dangers of boiling water, he stood on his tippy toes and stretched his chunky little arms until his fingers could grasp one of the cups.  He lowered the cup to his mouth and touched it to his lip.  Shocked by the heat of the boiling hot water, he dropped the cup, spilling it all over himself.  The thick blanket sleeper he was wearing soaked up the hot liquid and stuck to his skin.  Intense screams followed the spill.  I immediately scooped him into my arms while ripping off the blanket sleeper.  I ran cold water over the burned areas and applied cold towels but it was apparent that the burns were serious enough for a visit to the emergency room.  Sure enough, my baby boy had second and third degree burns and came home with thick bandages on the affected areas.

I have experienced significant burns myself.  In my later teen years, I accidently submerged half of my hand in a 350 degree fryer while cleaning it.  I don’t even want to describe how my hand looked as I pulled it out of the hot grease.  If you have ever experienced significant burns, you well know how painful they are.  Even more painful would be the treatment that was to take place in the weeks that followed my son’s injury.  Each day, for two weeks would include a visit to the doctor’s office to have debridement done on my son’s burns.  The treatment would probably need to be followed by plastic surgery on his arm.

Debridement is the medical removal of a patient’s dead, damaged, or infected tissue to improve the healing potential of the remaining healthy tissue. Removal may be surgical, mechanical, chemical, autolytic

The daily treatments began.  My role was to hold my screaming son down on the table while the doctor scraped the scabs off the burned areas causing them to bleed.  This was to promote the growth of healthy new skin cells.  How incredibly painful the process was though for both of us.  It wasn’t something that I could go through for him.  He had to experience it while I stood by and just held on.

Ending Number One:

I think this analogy can be applied in many areas of life.  Healing hurts.  It hurts when we allow ourselves to “go through” the process.  Who longs for the thrills of an intensely emotional roller coaster ride?  Doesn’t it just make your heart pump and your blood pressure soar when you get to enjoy a heated, internal wrestling match taking place in our own soul!  I know my first instinct is to run the other way or avoid it altogether.

Any time we have to let go of something like anger, betrayal, hate or bitterness, it’s painful.  Any time we have to let go of someone, whether it is an unhealthy friendship, a divorce or even death, there is grief.  The powerful waves of emotion attempting to swallow us up, leave us lying exhausted, battered and feeling powerless.  Yet, allowing those things to take place, not avoiding them or running from them, makes way for the healing to happen.  The key thought here is that I must allow myself to “go through” the pain in order to heal.

What happens if I don’t allow myself to experience the pain?  Infection sets in.  Unhealthy cells cause further damage to the healthy cells and tissue.  Pain increases. If the infection goes untreated for to long, there is even the risk of death.  Avoiding discomfort and what we fear has the potential to do far more damage to us than the initial injury ever did.  By avoiding the pain of the healing process, we are making an unconscious choice to give what ever power we have to that which caused our injury. We put our future dreams, success and even life, at risk.  It is not worth it to avoid the process.

Will allowing the healing process to take place be worth the risk of pain?  I say, yes!  Let’s do this, but let’s do it holding on to each other, even if it means holding each other on the treatment table.

Ending Number Two:

There is another ending to this story that I have to share.  When people heard what had happened to our son, we received many calls from friends expressing their concern and offering their prayers.  There was one woman in particular that I must tell you about.  She was a wonderful, caring friend who worked in our church nursery   Patricia was also a nurse.  She worked in a children’s hospital burn unit.  She would get right into the tubs with patients when they had their debridement treatments.  She would hold the kids, try to comfort and encourage them and of course, pray for them.  She couldn’t wait to hold our baby boy and pray for him in person.

We had only finished day three of the two week treatment course that had been scheduled.  The evening of day three, Patricia was in the nursery and so was our son.  He was always so excited to see her and I can still picture his little legs running to her open arms.  She got her opportunity to pray for him in person that night.  The next day we went back to the doctor for treatment.  Imagine our amazement and relief when the doctor said that our baby boy had made great progress overnight!  We would not need to do anymore treatments, nor see a plastic surgeon.  Now that’s a “God” storybook ending!