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  • Writer's pictureToni Wilbarger

Bruise? What Bruise?

Clumsy. What a quirky little word to describe someone who can't seem to walk through a doorway without whacking herself on the arm; someone who will most likely trip over anything in her path. Or who learned early in her cooking attempts to turn the skillet handle so it doesn't poke out over the edge of the stove. Someone like me. Ouch!

My husband learned early in our marriage he had to pick up everything on the floor in the middle of the pathway from this room to that. Many stubbed toes and scraped legs later, I think he's finally got it. And have you ever tripped UP the steps? I'm really good at that.

So I'm wrapping up a wonderful week of vacation in sunny, beachy Florida and it's been so very relaxing. Except for being unfamiliar with just how far that doorknob sticks out. Ugh. Another bruise. I scold myself, saying, "Watch where you're going, Toni!" Maybe I say it so I can beat others to it. I try to shake it off, but the tenderness of my skin reminds me of my clumsiness. Then the bruise shows up and I watch it turn from blue to black to eventually green and yellow. I wonder if there's any way to hide it with makeup or speed its healing with some sort of salve.

That's when it hit me (if you'll pardon the pun). Why am I trying to hide my bruises? Just to keep someone from pointing and asking how THAT happened? To avoid having to admit that, once again, I couldn't control my body enough to avoid an immovable object? When you break it down further (wow, another verb that can indicate clumsiness), what I'm really doing is trying to make myself seem more agile and flawless than I really am. So what if I'm less than graceful?

Maybe God allows me my bruises so I can learn to avoid a similar situation in the future. Or perhaps it's because when I try to explain how I got them, I usually infuse it with humor and make someone chuckle. We all need a little laughter these days, even if it's for just a moment. I guess I don't mind my clumsiness so much if I can give someone else the briefest of laughs.

But I still try to hide the wound. Do you? Of course, bruises can be a metaphor for the "ouches" life hands us--the things that turn our emotions black and blue. We try even harder to hide those. But why? I think it's for the same reason I try to hide my physical bruises. We hide our emotional wounds so others will think we have it all together. Maybe we're not trying to be perfect, but we do attempt to make it look like we can handle whatever is hurting us, that we don't need anyone's help. That we're stronger than we really are.

Again, why do we do it? Is it really so hard to let others know that we bear some pretty ugly bruises deep inside? They say we can't get better until we admit there's a problem. That involves being real with ourselves and then with others. Why do you think God gave us friends and family? If you can't be real with them, then who?

And that whole "admit there's a problem" thing? When we talk to God, that's called confession. It involves being real and honest with the Father who loves us. Can we do that? Can we at least be honest with HIM? Whatever internal bruises you're hiding, please tell God about it. After all, He is also known as the Great Physician.

Until next time,


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