Spring has sprung in these parts. The daffodils’ sunny faces have enlightened our landscape. Easter has come and gone. But, resurrection, thankfully, will stick around for weeks to come.
On one of my walks through the woods, I noticed a tree with a massive gash in its trunk. Although this time of year, with just emerging foliage, it’s difficult to know if the tree was dead, but I don’t think it was. Then, I walked a bit further and noticed a couple of other live trees, smaller ones with similar gashes, in scale to their smaller size.
This got me to thinking about wounds. Further, I began to contemplate the healing of wounds and even more, about unhealed wounds and healed-over wounds.
A wound is defined as an injury involving division of tissue due to external violence. This is a physical wound to a person, animal, or plant. Then there are wounds to the feelings, emotions, mind, sensibilities, etc. I’m a little more familiar with the workings of the latter than the former, given my education, and proclivity for things psychological.
I find it fascinating that some of the listed synonyms of the noun, wound, are: injury, trauma, torment, anguish, heartbreak, grief, and distress; mostly psychological things. Even more interesting are the antonyms which include joy, comfort, contentment, and happiness; also, psychological things.
I promise I won’t psychobabble you, but I do have some thoughts on the subject. Starting with tree wounds, the thing that started all of this thinking. The bottom line is, tree wounds don’t heal, they seal. Tree’s wall-off injured tissue and continue to generate new tissue outside of the wounded area.
I think a lot of people are walking around like wounded trees, with deep unhealed psychological injuries that have been walled-off, sealed up and consciously ignored. Given the definitions of wound, I don’t believe this is much of a leap in logic.
You’ve heard the term, “walking-wounded,” those of us who look healed and whole, but in reality, all that is healed is the acute blood-letting part of the original wound. New tissue has been generated surrounding the old wound and life has gone on, as life does, in altered form.
Some of our wounds have been sutured, glued, and plugged. We’re covered over with scabs and scars, and new tissue that is about 80% as strong as our original condition.
Healing of wounds requires moisture and often that moisture is maintained by a covering, the proverbial “band-aid.” But wounds, can’t remain covered eternally and might become unhealthily dependent on the bandage. Also, I’ve watched enough “doctor”-shows on television to know that some wounds are better left open for a time in order to heal thoroughly.
As to the psychological wound, it seems that the bandage, covering or hiding the wound, necessarily protects the person from acute pain and becoming overwhelmed, in the short term. Then, there comes a time to expose the wound, to air it out, and this means to talk, communicate, talk and communicate some more, for healing to occur.
Have you heard of “airing out your grievances?” Otherwise, there remains a chronic wound underneath the healthy tissue, rising up now and again from the unconscious, in the form of anger, defensiveness, fierce independence, fear, divisiveness, secrecy, depression, restlessness, agitation, and general malaise from an otherwise unknown origin.
If you think you’re immune to inner wounds, think again. Having studied prenatal psychology many years ago, I can testify that some professionals believe we’re wounded from the trauma of birth. So, there’s that.
What most of us recognize as simply personality traits, are frequently not something we’re born with, but something we’ve developed as defense mechanisms to cover our wounds. Most of these wounds, I would surmise are unknown consciously to us. They’ve been so thoroughly covered over, walled-off, and obscured by what’s happened since then, that they just “belong” to us and we don’t know any different. We’ve adapted to the wound.
The good news is that healing is possible if we learn to talk, communicate, and talk some more. Eighty-percent strong are good odds. Human tissue, unlike that of wounded trees, is capable of self- generated repair, restoration, replacement and regeneration. The sutures of communication help to rebuild new tissue because they close the mass of the original wound needing healed.
I’m reminded of a song on my jogging playlist, Breathe (2 AM) by Anna Nalick, which in part, laments, “winter just wasn’t my season....” If winter wasn’t your season, hooray that Spring brings hope for something better. I wish you all a happy resurrection, and Godspeed with your wound-healing.