If you’ve ever experienced a tragedy in your life, there’s a good chance you heard some well-meaning person say “time heals all wounds”. They say it because they don’t know what else to say and they want to be supportive. But is it true? Does time really heal all wounds? I can answer that in a single word: Nope. It doesn’t. But that would be a pretty short blog post so I’ll elaborate a bit.
I consider myself somewhat of an expert on this subject, as I have had a plethora of wounds and plenty of time for time’s magic potion to wash over me and make them all disappear. No such luck. Darn it. I really wanted that to be true. 😦 So what have I learned about it, then, you ask? Well, let me jump back into my RN shoes and give a little medical analogy.
Do wounds on the body heal themselves with just time? Usually a minor flesh wound will heal nicely on it’s own with time, assuming there are no other factors present that would complicate the healing. But it isn’t time that does the healing. It’s the body’s ability to repair the cells. If all conditions are favorable it will heal them without intervention. But if the wound was deep, or made by a dirty object, or if it becomes contaminated by surrounding bacteria the wound will not heal on it’s own. It will fester and literally eat away at the healthy skin around it. The pain might be dulled when it eats through some of the nerves, but it will continue to grow bigger and uglier and more destructive. No, this wound won’t go away in time.
So it is with wounds to our soul. Our psyche. If they are minor little scratches our brain will make the repair over time. There may be a small scar but nothing that causes further damage. For example: When I was about 9 or 10 I got a bike for my birthday. It was shiny and blue and a 3-speed. I loved it! It was my most prized possession. One day, about 2 weeks after I got it, I let my brother ride it. My mother called us into the house for dinner. He chained my bike up and we went inside. After dinner I went out to ride my bike again but it was gone. My brother had chained it to the garden hose. Somebody was smart enough to figure out that all they had to do was pull the hose out and voila! They had a new bike. I never got it back. That was a flesh wound. I loved that bike and it hurt to lose it. But over time my mind did a good job of healing itself and this event has left no lasting impact. (Other than poking fun at my brother from time to time for doing such a silly thing).
But then there are the deep wounds. The dirty ones with jagged edges that cut through several layers. Sometimes even to the bone. Those are the wounds that often prompt people to tell us time will heal. It simply isn’t true. If left on their own they will continue to rot. As life pours on more contamination they will fester and spread, eating away at healthy areas around them. The pain might be dulled as the nerves become severed, but the damage is still spreading inside. This is what happens with time if you ignore the wounds that cut to the core. Time won’t heal them. Don’t wait for it. Seek help and do the work required to heal the wounds now. Don’t suffer needlessly for 4 decades like I did.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. – Isaiah 43:2