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And So We Lick Our Wounds

Sydney was beside herself.  As I was pulling away from the carpool pick-up line I couldn’t help but wonder who this little monster was in the back seat of my car.  She had asked me if we could go to Starbucks for a girls’ day, and I had said no.  I warned her before I dropped her off at school that this Monday was not a “girls’ day Monday”.  Fair warning as far as I was concerned.  Either Sydney forgot our pre-school conversation, or she was attempting to talk me into changing my mind.  When she realized that there would be no argument from me, she lost it.  I was the meanest mommy in the world…for 20 (long) minutes.

Several hours later, and after a little bedroom time for Sydney, we sat down and had a little talk.  I asked her what she was feeling?  We started talking about her day, her friends, and her math speed drill.  The more I pressed her about the speed drill I could see tears welling up in her eyes.  She hadn’t finished hers in time and felt embarrassed in front of her friends, not to mention upset with herself for what she perceived as failure.  The tears grew into sobs as she continued to open up to me.

I knew in the car that Sydney’s outrage was not really about me, even though at the time it was directed towards me.  I knew there was something else going on deep inside her and the only way she knew how to deal with her self-loathing was to react rather than look inward.  It was an easier way to go for her.  Rather than deal with the painful feelings, she tried to put her pain on me.

On the other hand, one can never tell when Brooklyn has been hurt or offended.  It’s not until she runs away and hides from us that we realize something, or someone, has upset her.  Sometimes she simply disappears, without a peep.  When Brooklyn has been found she is usually curled up in a ball, whimpering in sorrow.  It takes incredible patience and a gentle hand to get her to open up and express what is truly bothering her.  Rather than speak up when the offense has taken place, Brooklyn prefers to withdraw, run away, and hide from the very people who love her and want to help her.

As I was thinking about my girls and how they deal with their hurts, I was reminded of how we, as adults, do the same thing.  We may not throw our bodies on the floor in protest or let others see our ugly sides, however, in our own way we either lash out or run and hide when someone has hurt or offended us.

Sometimes we say mean things to people.  Sometimes we call them on the phone and give them a good earful.  We feel justified.  We are going to have our say, regardless of the other person’s feelings.  Sadly, the end of this scenario is usually pain on both sides, and a broken relationship.  The reaction to hurt brings more hurt.  Rather than looking inside at our own brokenness we look at everybody else and blame them.  It is too painful to face the real problem, in the immediate.  However, the consequence of never facing the reality and root of our pain is a pain that will live with us for the rest of our lives.

Sometimes we simply run away and hide.  We pull a “Brooklyn”.  We’ve been offended.  We’ve been hurt.  We feel overlooked or perhaps insecure about our ranking in a relationship.  Rather than speak up and say something, we distance ourselves to the point of isolation.  Instead of choosing vulnerability, which hurts for a brief moment in time, we walk through life never knowing the power and fulfillment of true relationship.  We are afraid of being abandoned, so we abandon.  We walk away from the very people (imperfect and flawed, to be sure) who love us and care about us.

We are lying to ourselves if we believe that the deep, dark issues inside of us will eventually go away if we either find the perfect friend, family, church, or job.  If we never learn to stop and take a closer look within, we will forever be attacking and withdrawing and sadly, never growing.  If we want to grow, and I believe we really do, then we must put a stop to the way we handle pain.

The pain we feel, if we will allow ourselves to feel it, can actually lead us and guide towards healing.  It’s hard work.  It requires risk and trust and reaching out and vulnerability, acceptance of our role in the pain and willingness to confront our fears.  When we read or hear what healing involves we choke up, we resist, we justify, and if we’re not ready to go there yet, we run away and lick our wounds.  Because this seems a much easier option.

Cloud and Townsend in their book “How People Grow” write:

“Bad pain comes from repeating old patterns and avoiding the suffering it would take to change them, because many times people suffer because of their own character faults.  Bad pain is basically wasted pain.  It is the pain we go through to avoid the good pain of growth that comes from pushing through.  It is the wasted pain we encounter as we try to avoid grief and true hurt that needs to be worked through.”

As harsh as this may seem, and going deep into our pain can be brutal, there is a heaping load of grace, love and forgiveness that God pours out on us as we take this step.  He reveals his presence through his Word, but most importantly he reveals his character through fellow believers walking the path along with us.  We are never alone.  God’s word promises he will never leave us nor forsake us.  I believe that includes his people, too.

Here is yet another growth step: will we lick our wounds or risk exposure of our wounds so they may heal?

Simple…but not easy.

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6 Responses to “And So We Lick Our Wounds”

  1. Leanne says:

    Oh my Amy, that is such powerful insight! It forces me to take a look at how I’ve been handling pain, past and present, and the fact that their is a root that needs to be dug up. We just don’t think of that until a friend like you comes along and shares so beautifully her experience and insight.

    Do we learn more about life when we have kids or what? ;)

    Thank you,

  2. Laura Hering says:

    So BEAUTIFUL….Your words touch my soul….Thank You Amy!!!
    Blessings my lovely friend, Laura

  3. Jonette says:

    Great word lady! Preach!!!! Love love love your thoughts.

  4. sister sheri says:

    Amy! Love the quote… I have been meaning to post about “Insanity means doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” You are right… it sounds like I book that I would like! (Can I borrow yours or did you mark it up?)

  5. Julie says:


    What a great mom to not allow yourself to get angry/offended and to push through to deal with Sydney’s real pain. She may never know what a priceless gift that is.

    Love the quote. Hoping to experience some “good pain” of growth here soon. Long overdue. What a quote. It’s so true.

  6. Julie says:

    I actually copied this entire post and have it saved on my computer. I think there is so much here I need to remember. Thanks my friend. (in nee, lol)

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