What speaks to me today: Re-post from March 29, 2013
Like a loving mother who lives to give her child the key to life, which is wisdom and instruction, so does the wound inflicted by a friend. Wounds can be healthy and when inflicted out of love, they heal beautifully.
Sometimes you have to hurt before you can heal. Who better than a friend to deliver truth. A true friend knows your imperfections, weaknesses and foolish ways, even when you can’t see them. I can trust my friend to do right by me, whether in word or actions. People who don’t care about you tell you what you want to hear, whereas a true friend obligates him or herself to deliver an unadulterated truth, which is what you really need to hear.
God made man in need of one another, knowing that “two are better than one.” It’s up to us to decipher which of those mean us no good. We do that by trusting God to work it out and by welcoming those who create wounds. Lessons in life are disguised as wounds. Often times they hurt, seem unbearable, even cruel. However, if we know the true value of friendship, we also know that God places people in our lives for a reason. Some are there for a season, others a lifetime. Life itself is an eternal learning institution.
There is a priceless gift that comes with friendship….it’s best described as an opportunity to capitalized on another’s wisdom, experience and instruction. We’ve all heard the old saying “experience is the best teacher.” Another true and age-old saying is “a hard-head makes a soft behind.” That’s one I’ve heard all my life; and at 56, today I can honestly say both are true. The hard-head represents disobedience, the soft behind…wounds or pain, as it were.
Several years ago, shortly after my son died, I became kind of obsessed with going to the cemetery visiting his grave. When I say obsessed, I don’t mean every day, because I lived in a totally different city than where my son was buried. That said; obviously I couldn’t have been going that often. The thing was; every time I visited my home town of Chicago, for the first several months after my son passed, when my mother and I talked on the phone, I’d tell her I was going to the cemetery when I got to Chicago. One day when I told her that she said; “Elton is gone, he’s not here anymore and going out there won’t bring him back.” I was so hurt when she said that. I began telling myself silly things like “nobody but me remembers my son nor cares that he’s gone.” Not understanding that mom was trying to spare me from going through an emotional turmoil of burying my son over and over, I became upset with her. Mom had created a wound that needed to heal.
My mother loved her grandchildren too-death, and in my mind I knew this. Obviously her wisdom was far more astute than mine at that time. Mother saw something I couldn’t. She saw me giving Satan permission to wrench my heart with grief …indefinitely. I guess in her mind she knew something earth-shattering needed to be said, even if it hurt. It wasn’t long after when she and I were talking on the phone, and out of no where she began to explain why she said what she said, on that unforgettable day.
Mother said: “I didn’t mean to hurt you when I told you to stop going to the cemetery so much. She said, I know everybody handles grief differently. I loved Elton too, she said, but he’s gone, is all I’m trying to say. She said…you have to let him go, so you can carry on for the child you have left. Well, mother was right. Once I let him go and gave him to God, the wound that manifested out of my mother’s words of wisdom began to heal. For the first time, I realized I was trying to hold on to something in body that was only there in spirit. Essentially, I didn’t need to keep going to the cemetery to see my son, nor feel his presence because his spirit would always be with me.
Wounds from a friend can be trusted. That wound came from my mother, the best friend I’ve ever had.