Jean Croker Petke

Deep and Long

Deep and Long

I saw reference the other day to the rapidity of a surgeon’s scalpel. I’m not doctor — or surgeon — but from my sketchy medical knowledge, I suspect they cut quickly, once they know exactly where they’re going. Their tools are razor-sharp. And they can go deep, through layers of tissue.


It set me to pondering. Again.

We are like surgeons in our less-than-good moments. We say something without thinking, we dismiss another with our look or inattention, we speak words of disapproval. The message is clear to the receiver, whether we are aware of it or not.

The hurt is quick and deep — and painful.

Whatever the surgeon has done to us, we know the recovery will be long, and not without its pain. Drugs and therapies can assist with the healing, but it’s always slower than we wish. Though there are exceptions, we expect healing to occur if we follow the doctor’s orders.

But with these other hurts — the childhood traumas, the school incidents, the misunderstandings, the miscommunications, the wrong assumptions — healing seems to be another matter.

We remember the hurt, in great detail, even though it may have happened years ago. We carry it around, perhaps in an emotional backpack filled with other hurts. We drag it out occasionally, review the hurt, tell our family and friends again, and return it to our backpack for safe keeping.

We know exactly what the other person did to us and what they need to do to make things better. It’s always their fault. They’re the ones who did us wrong.

Our periodic review of the hurt is like picking at a scab. As long as we carry it around, show it to our friends, keep looking at the depth of the wound, it will never heal. Never.

The doctor can’t make the surgical wound heal. I have to do my part — whatever the doc or therapist has outlined for my behavior. I can’t blame the doc for lack of healing if I don’t change the dressing or keep it dry, or if I walk on the broken leg before I should.

The process is the same with our emotional wounds. So, the question of the day is, “What has to happen in order for healing to occur?” The only side of the issue I can consider is my side, because I have no control over the other side.

Here are some suggestions:

  • acknowledge the hurt I’m carrying around
  • consider my willingness to give it up, to remove it from my backpack, to totally be rid of it some day
  • explore my part in the situation
  • identify a step I can take towards healing
  • take the step

Hurts can be long and deep. Healing is a process. It starts from my side of the situation.

Take off your blame glasses. Ponder and consider your part of the situation. Allow time to change your behavior.

Take the step only when you are ready.

Until next Tuesday . . .