I was learning to ride my bike. I learned the hard way. Once the training wheels came off, my knees spent a lot of time dragging on the concrete. There were tears. Time spent in the bathroom washing the grit out of the wounds. Then the Dettol was applied. I hated the Dettol. It stung. It hurt. I would frantically blow air across the wound hoping the sting would go away. Then came the bandages. A single bandaid was not big enough. Big pads of gauze and sticky tape gave me knee patches that would attempt to protect the wounds. My knees were raw.
My friend asked me recently, how are you? I smiled and said fine. She commented just checking. That made me wonder. Am I fine?
Yes. I would say I’m fine. She looked me square in the eye and commented that I seem raw – like a wound, tender, open and seeping, raw.
This fall has not been what I anticipated. My heart feels like my knees used to. I have been rubbed raw with cares and concerns for others. These concerns and cares are not a bad thing. We are called to empathize, to be burden carriers for each other. But in the carrying there is sometimes a wounding as aches for those you love grow. I wonder if I will bear some scars from these rubbed raw moments.
I think my normal has shifted. I used to know what my normal was. I don’t think I do any more. I think there’s bandaids slapped all over my heart, but underneath, it’s raw. There are wounds that seep. There’s a possibility that infection might be setting in. In some ways I’m looking forward to a scab forming and the new skin that will grow underneath. Maybe then my heart won’t hurt so much.
I don’t remember when I stopped needing my knee patches. The wounds healed. The scabs formed. I probably picked at the scabs more than I should have. Despite all of the times when my knees met the concrete, I don’t have scars. I wonder if my heart is the same.