My hands move fast, busy about the kitchen. I cut, prep and toss bits and pieces of veggies and spices into the pan to make chili. Frank Sinatra croons on the radio and I strain to hear Kolby’s giggle on the swing out on the front porch. Faith is doing her homework in the next room and Kyle is about to arrive home any minute after football practice.
It’s my normal fast-paced evening as I pull double-duty with three kids while daddy works late.
Suddenly, something red catches my eye on the bowl in my hand. It’s a bright crimson, almost like strawberry juice—a smear of blood perhaps?
I stop in my tracks. I slow down and peer closely now.
I gasp. The red is everywhere.
Panic rises up in my throat. I think of dead bunnies from Fatal Attraction, psychos and ex-boyfriends.
Why is there blood all over my kitchen?
The white cabinets have streaks of sticky red on the doors on the cabinet pulls. The china plates on the table are hit. The fridge and the dishwasher and the cabinets all reveal stains of red.
I look down at my feet and gasp. Red splotches leave a trail from the stove to the table and back again. Ooooh gross…I’m walking in it.
The calm side of my brain finally takes over.
“Ok, Sam, assess the damage. Where is it coming from,” I tell myself.
(I also look for the knives in case I need a weapon)
Am I hurt? I don’t feel anything.
I do a body check and notice my left hand is covered in blood.
How did I miss that?
I run my hands under cool water and the gash appears on my index finger. It’s deep and bleeding profusely. I grab a paper towel and make a Viva tourniquet, putting strong pressure on it.
Finally, finally…the pain comes—an intense throb, then sting and the relief of knowing there wasn’t a stalker hiding behind my cupboard.
About an hour later, after dinner, it stops bleeding and I’m able to bandage the wound.
My finger boo-boo is constantly on my mind—probably because I’m typing with a bandaged finger, but mostly because I am shocked that I was so oblivious to an injury on my body.
It seems a little crazy; here I am I imagining scenarios that had nothing to do with reality. I walk around and drip, drop, drip blood and yet assume it’s something beyond me and my person because I didn’t feel the sting.
And then I think of how often I do the same thing in other areas— in matters of the heart—not physical, but spiritual wounds. Someone hurts me and I either ignore or avoid the pain. I gloss over it and pretend it’s no big deal—until it starts seeping out in other areas.
I get sick or I withhold from the person who hurt me. I get defensive or shut down my heart in self-protection.
The wound finds a way of making itself known even when we don’t acknowledge the pain.
My husband and I sit in the counselor’s office and we talk about an issue. It’s maybe my least favorite thing in the world to talk about but my husband digs in.
I’m uncomfortable. I squirm in my seat. I hate pulling out this muck from my soul. I stall and stutter and finally he pushes hard enough and I blurt out, “It’s because you said this “thing” on our honeymoon and it made me feel ashamed.”
Bamm. The words are out there.
The counselor looks at me wide eyed. Tim shakes his head in shock.
“I’m so sorry,” he says. “I had no idea.”
And suddenly I’m back in the kitchen and I’ve found the wound. Only it’s been years and years of marriage that I’ve been seeping out the blood.
Now I’m ashamed even more for unconsciously holding onto my pain like a prized medal to beat my husband up with.
And as my husband apologizes and holds me as I cry, I finally rip off the spiritual band-aid and start to heal.
It’s been seven years of marriage for Tim and me—seven years of figuring this “uniting into one” stuff out.
Can I just say it’s hard? Clearly marriage is not for the uncommunicative or the martyr—both attributes I exhibit at my worst.
But the more we dig into the cues and wounds of old—the more we can find our triggers and how to move past or avoid them altogether.
Two steps forward—one step back. A daily dance of beauty and intimacy as selfishness hovers nearby just waiting to intrude.
I meet a young woman at a party. She is bitter over a divorce.
Her words are harsh, “I married potential, I divorced reality.”
I’m shocked at first, but if I’m honest I recognize myself in her.
I have the potential—with God—to be all that he created me to be. And I have the potential—in my own strength—to fail miserably
I will never get it all right. But I pray my husband can see both—the good and bad—and love me in spite of it, choosing every single day to stay on the same team and believe the best about one another even when we act our worst.
I know so many of you are hurting and in pain. You are in the storm.
The blood is all over the kitchen.
And I’ve been there with you. I’ve walked through the hell of divorce. It’s a relational death like no other.
But I’ll tell you a secret. It won’t be easier on the other side. You will still take “you” into the next relationship.
And if “you” are anything like me, you still need some fixin up and hard edges polished.
Band-aids need to be ripped off so you can heal and be the best you.
I know it’s hard work. And it means letting go and forgiving beyond yourself.
But I believe God won’t leave you in the mess if you are willing to do the hard work and find the wounds.
Christine Caine puts it this way, “On the other side of every disappointment is a God appointment.”
And sometimes the greatest pain is simply a mercy in disguise.
Where have you stuck a band-aid on a wound in your relationship that needs healing?