The sharp sting was followed with dread. I knew I had just received a splinter from the banister of my porch. I inspected my hand, and sure enough, along with a scrape….I could see a splinter deeply embedded up under the skin. The little bit of black was far from the path of entry, and out of the reach of tweezers.
Initially I told myself that if I left the splinter “be” (ignored it), that it would eventually surface on it’s own, and then I would not have to do anything painful. However, I quickly discovered that I was hindered by pain when I tried to type, or do other important tasks. It became obvious that I could not just ignore it, or hide it behind a band-aid. I so wanted to convince myself that it would resolve on it’s own, but recognized that it would just fester, and get worse unless I faced it, and took action. So, out came the needle. It hurt. I had to break the skin, and poke, dig, and prod…. but eventually I pulled the offending piece out. I then discovered that there was a tiny broken bit that remained. Once more I was tempted to just leave it, but knew it was best to attack it with the needle as well. Despite the broken skin, I instantly felt relief. So too, is the result when we face the difficult things that burden our hearts and souls.
Sometimes we ignore things that hurt, and bother us…because to address them would require facing uncomfortable truths, and making difficult (and even painful) choices. It can seem easier to ignore the issues, and tell ourselves excuses and justifications to cover-up, and avoid the truth. We want to believe that it will magically resolve, change….or that with time, we will be able to learn to live with, and around it. However, just as a tiny sliver in our hand can handicap us, so too can be the result of tiny barbed seeds that burrow into us on emotional, spiritual, and mental levels. Guilt, discord, resentment, unresolved problems, doing things we know that are not right, or that do not align with who we are—all plant dark seeds within us that do not simply dissolve. It often results in self-dishonesty, and even creating elaborate means within us to ignore, and deeply bury the issues. All the same, just like an ignored splinter…. those seeds can grow, fester, and lead to much greater wounds, problems…. and destruction.
Sometimes we carry weight and damage for years. Those seeds come in many forms—including the need to apologize, forgive, or address mistakes that we have made. At times, we may be faced with the need to distance ourselves from people we care about, but who pull us down, and harm us in some way. Typically, the choices and actions required to resolve these kind of issues involve pain, and even hardship. It is all the harder when we do not want to hurt someone else, or fear having to start over in some form (which is often what happens when we address mistakes). However, once again… just like with what happens when we break the skin to dig-out an invading splinter—we find relief. The pain we have to face and create, relieves the pressure, and frees us to heal, and move forward without that which was debilitating us.
I once saw a hand that was rotting from gangrene. I worked in a pharmacy at the time, and a man suddenly shoved his hand directly under my face. The skin was green, puss-filled, and rotting. It smelled like bad meat. The wound initially had been a minor injury, but had progressed when ignored and neglected. When questioned, he said he refused to go to a doctor (and had nonsensical reasons behind that stance). We tried to convince him that it was beyond an infection, and that he was risking the loss of his hand. He refused to listen to us, and wanted to believe that simply covering it would resolve it. So too, is what happens when we ignore issues that hurt us on internal levels. When we ignore a mistake, we can become caged by it. We will move forward in the wrong direction, and pile-up additional mistakes that can lead to a nasty destination. Yet, when problems/ things that are wrong are addressed early-on, we can avoid greater mistakes and pain—and creating it for others as well. As much as we sometimes want to avoid hurting others, what we ignore and lie about (including to ourselves) WILL eventually surface…and often it will grow to proportions that create destruction and pain on levels far beyond what would have occurred had things been addressed sooner. Ignoring problems does not spare others, it just insures that instead of giving them a bruise, you eventually will cause deep harm to them.
When children get splinters… we hold them down, and root-out the damaging pieces— even if they scream, cry, and protest. We do so because we know it is what is best for them, and that the created pain will only be momentary….and then they will be free to return to their play. We know this, yet will ignore doing it for our own selves—both literally, and figuratively. It can sometimes be hard to recognize when we are avoiding it, especially when we have created a tangle of justifications to block our view. A good indicator…is when it continues to surface, even when we have previously convinced ourselves that it was fine, or even resolved. When we lie to ourselves, or do things that do not align with us…. our core self/ soul knows it, and will continue to prod, and push at us. That unease will remain, and molder…. no matter what we do to shove it down, and ignore it. The moments where we succeed at convincing ourselves things are fine, or even great…. will only be temporary and not hold—-because it is false, and not true.
In order to relieve ourselves of a harmful splinter, we have to face some initial pain. The same truth applies when we have to free ourselves from deeper internal issues, and mistakes. However, once we make those choices, and are honest with ourselves (even when it is painful and difficult to do), we often feel a massive weight lifted from within us. That is how we know that we truly are making the right choice. We feel the peace that results when our soul is finally completely relieved of what was wrong, and not only hurting it….. but crippling it. Thus, it is important for us to strive for self-honesty, and to face the difficult things. Doing so frees us, spares others… and steers us in the direction that is true to ourselves.