I accidentally burned my thumb on a hot oven rack about ten days ago. It left a deep wound that formed a nasty scab. I put aloe on it and other ointments and watched it slowly begin to heal. And then, yesterday, I caught the scab on something and ripped it off. It really hurt and started weeping again. But, I can now see that it will heal. There will be a scar, but it will heal.
Now, another story. I was on vacation in Northern New Mexico last week. My friend and I were waiting in line to place a lunch order at Bode’s General Store, which is famous for its green chili cheeseburgers. A couple near us were in a rather tense conversation. She was in tears and we heard her say, “We’ve come all this way and all I want in a green chili cheeseburger!” He didn’t want to wait to order and was verbally abusive to her. Finally he gave in, but his body language said she would pay dearly for her green chili cheeseburger.
They didn’t eat in the store, they left, and my stomach churned. I could imagine the abuse she would sustain over something that might seem trivial to us. But abuse is not trivial. It is real and it leaves deep wounds.
That night I dreamt about my own abuser and the years of abuse I sustained over “trivial” things. You see, I had learned to weigh the consequences of asserting myself. Sometimes I did and sometimes I did not.
I woke up drenched in sweat with the blankets in a tangle. I knew I was safe, but watching that encounter in Bode’s store had ripped the scabs off again. It’s been 16 years since I left, and still the scabs get ripped off. But each time they do, I know I am healing. I know I am safe.
If you are healing know that the scars are signs that you are alive and safe. Let them help you to remember that you are a strong woman and you deserve to be loved, not abused.
Pastor Margie Guelker
Christ Lutheran Church, Blaine, MN
Alexandra House Board Member