Making apple butter is a yearly family tradition of ours. We have a very large copper kettle that houses up to 6 bushels of apples we position over an open fire outside. It takes most of a day, starting in the pre-dawn hours, to cook apple chunks down to the spreadable, edible, delicious consistency needed to eat.
We needed to chop some bigger pieces of wood down to size so as not to scorch the apple butter with fire that was too hot. The girls got a lesson in using the axe (safety first) and then it was my turn to try my hand at chopping. The first few pieces went relatively smoothly…I was sort of really proud of myself as I had never swung an axe before, very homestead-y of me… until I hit a quartered piece at the wrong angle and sent it flying into my shin. Just above my boot and right below my knee. Of course the edge of the wood is what hit.
It was one of those hits that makes things go immediately numb but you can still feel the throbbing. And of course brings tears to your eyes. I sat down to look at it and it really didn’t look like much. A little red line where the edge hit but otherwise not too bad….at least as far as the eye could see.
But it hurt.
I couldn’t sleep that night because of it. Every time I rolled over or bumped it (even with the sheets) the throbbing would wake me up. The next day I looked at it again thinking half my lower leg would be black and blue, bruised and swollen but you could still only see that small red line.
I felt like a wimp and told my man I knew it didn’t look like much but boy did it hurt. He assured me he believed me and wondered if I had bruised the bone. I really am surprised at just how bad it hurts but you could never tell if you were to see my leg. (Did I mention this already??)
Then it dawned on me yesterday that that is how many of us walk around. Hurting so badly on the inside with wounds so deep but on the outside you could never tell anything was wrong.
Today is day four and my shin is doing a little better. Or so I thought. Until I made beds this morning and put my knee up on the soft mattress which put pressure on the bruise you cannot see of which is not quite as healed as I thought it was. I didn’t put my knee on the bed gently due to a momentary lapse of remembering just how sore my leg still was. Let’s just say I laid back on the bed in the fetal position for a few minutes while the throbbing stopped.
That’s what the holidays do to those with deep bruises no one can see. We forget just how tender we still are and this time of year puts us lying on the bed in a fetal position wanting the throbbing to stop.
When I looked up bone bruises on WebMD (I love to self-diagnose) here is what it said under treatments:
Avoid placing more stress on the bruised bone area to allow adequate healing. A bone bruise heals more slowly than a soft tissue damage.
So to you who have deep bruises no one can see and wounds that are still healing this holiday season:
- Cut yourself some slack. Avoid placing more stress on the bruise by expecting perfection or by berating yourself with shoulds and should nots. It’s ok to not do every single thing you normally do.
- If old traditions hurt too much, try some new things. There is no rule in the rule book that says you have to do any one thing. And then maybe next year you can re-incorporate some old traditions.
- Sometimes the best medicine is in helping others. Take cookies to a nursing home or fire department. Work a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Carole with friends. Be creative!
- Avoid Pintrest for pity’s sake! Good night, nobody needs that pressure! And social media? I’m not saying never here but minimize social media time. (I took Facebook off my phone last week… can you say FREEDOM!!) But seriously, sometimes social media does nothing but gouge a wound.
Put this one as number one top priority: reflect on the true meaning of the season. Forget tinsel town. Read about the little town of Bethlehem. Forget glitz and glamour. Remember the humble beginnings of a babe in a manger. The very reason Jesus was born is for those of us with deep bruises and wounds no one can see.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)
He sees you my fellow wounded warrior.
It’s why He came.
Love you something fierce!