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A minor injury led Lara Patangan to consider the pain we all carry -- and the only way we can be truly healed.

I ran into a tree --with my face.

When I mentioned this to my mother, she assumed it was with my car and I spent some time pondering whether that indicated she gave me too much credit or not enough.

I was walking down the sidewalk looking left, because even though I’ve been told my whole life to watch where I am going, it seems as if all the interesting things are either to the left or right while only monotony marches forward in careful composition. To my left, a woman still clad in her pajamas was begging a tow truck driver to remove the boot from her car.

I was immersed in their interaction when the tree attacked. The assault wasn’t like the one in the Poltergeist movie when a tree wrapped people in its python-like branches. It was a knock in the face so hard that my earring popped out and I had to sit on the sidewalk for a minute and say bad words while trying not to cry. I'm not sure which kind of tree attack is worse.

I have small cuts on my jaw and ear that can easily be covered with makeup and hair. It annoys me that they look so minor when hours later I can still feel the throb from the jarring hit. It seems like I should have an imprint of bark on my face or a dangling ear, but sadly, I look relatively normal.

It made me think about the wounds we carry and how the ones that hurt the most are often unseen. This pulsating pain walks with us no matter which direction we are headed. Few know the extent of our injuries and sometimes we too ignore the ache of our wounds.

We try to be tough. We try to move on. We think the heart heals as intuitively as our bodies do from injury or sickness.  We assume it will just happen without acknowledgement or effort the way bruises fade from darkness into nothingness. Yet our hearts were not made for darkness and nothingness. They were made for love and the consequences of that ability to stretch and surmount and pour out and let in -- is a vulnerability to being hurt.

Jesus knew this. He loved unequivocally and it motivated his willingness to suffer for us so that we could also know great love.

We carry wounds, and the ones that hurt the most are often unseen. #catholicmom

Jesus bore a great cost and willingly endured physical and mental anguish in the name of love. Despite His suffering, He didn’t wallow in the wounds of life. He rose from them. He transformed them from brutality into the beauty of redemption.

Pain in life is inevitable, but we don’t have to carry it with us. Through Him, we can heal. We can redeem it. We can help others do the same. We don’t ever really know what anyone else has been through, what pain they have been hit with, or what they’ve had to walk away from. And that’s okay.

Not everyone has to be attacked by a tree to feel compassion for someone else. We just have to know that no matter where our wounds originate, walking into His loving divine arms, we reach a place where healing can begin.


Copyright 2020 Lara Patangan
Image: Unsplash (2016)