“Is that my blood or yours?” she said.
We were both kneeling on the top of a 20 ft overhanging wall. “I have no idea” I replied to the stranger. The adrenaline pumped as hard as the music from the speakers and we were now knelt in a crimson pool of mud and blood.
It was my blood. And a lot of it.
We were doing a Tough Mudder event to raise money for the charity Mercy UK and I’d only agreed to do it to help my sister-in-law in her training, a kindness I was beginning to regret.
I hobbled and wobbled my way off the top of the wall and headed straight to first aid tent. My knee had been completely shredded following a fall from the top of the overhanging wall and the searing pain had now turned to numbness. A gaping wound covered in mud is not a good combination and I bravely fought off images of gangrene and amputations as I sat myself down in front of a too-young looking doctor.
He got straight to the point: “Sorry pal, this is going to hurt”- promptly injecting something directly into the wound six times and proceeding to clean it with a toothbrush. Yes, an actual toothbrush. Dipped in iodine.
I won’t bore you with the details of the several hospital trips, the pain of a wound opening up every time I bent my knee (which is an essential part of the ‘walking’ motion..) or the frustratingly slow recovery process. I will tell you however, that I have a great looking scar on my knee now, for which I will think of a suitably heroic tale to tell my children.
The fact is, even though the initial pain has gone and the wound has healed, it can still hurt. The slightest knock, cold weather, crouching down, can all send a shooting pain through my body.
The same can be true for the wounds we carry on the inside. Life can hurt and it can cause heart wounds- wounds that no one can see but they hurt all the same. Many (not all) of these wounds are caused by childhood experiences. Hurts like rejection, low self-worth, powerlessness, no significance, or abandonment cannot be seen but can definitely be felt.
These internal heart wounds can have happened years ago, but if the scar is touched, it can still hurt. And every so often, it can catch you off-guard. Many times we feel we have dealt with a hurt we were carrying but sometimes it sends a shooting pain through our body. Time has passed, we have healed, we have moved on- but why does it still hurt?
I was recently working with a group of fellow life-coaches, all of which were many years my senior and had great influence in their roles, and this little voice hit me, “Who are you to stand in this circle, you have nothing to offer”. A wound in me from years ago that has truly been healed. But just like my scarred knee, even though it is healed, it can still hurt. The difference this time though was that voice, which once would have rendered me silent and passive, was quickly overruled and replaced with the truth of who I am now – someone whose identity, security and confidence is not rooted in what others think of me.
Even a healed wound needs time to become pain-free. The pain will go. The scars may remain. But all warriors carry scars.