Not too long ago I read a social media post by a friend who had recently experienced a car accident. “I am thankful we escaped with just minor injuries,” she said. Hmm… Minor injuries may be minor compared to major ones, but they are still injuries none-the-less.
I will never forget the 2012 car accident that left me with minor injuries. A lady hit me on I-75 knocking me into the guard rail, and then caused me to spin across three lanes of traffic to crash into the other guard rail that sent me sliding backwards down the fast lane only to get hit head-on by a pick up truck that slung me back into the guard rail. I took four hard hits and escaped with “just” minor injuries—bruising, a concussion, soreness, chipped teeth and whip lash. Two ambulances arrived on the scene, but the other people involved were taken to the hospital instead of me because I didn’t appear to be too hurt. My bones were in tact, I wasn’t bleeding and I was awake, therefore I had to follow up with my doctor the next day.
I cringe a little when I hear people say… “It’s just a little bruising.” For me, a little bruising meant I looked like an eggplant from my collar bone to my thighs—a solid black, blue & purple torso. I was so sore I couldn’t carry a load of towels to the closet! The concussion was weird—I felt like the “lights were on, but no-one was home.” My thoughts were jumbled in such a way, I couldn’t place a simple order from a menu. And, every morning for weeks I woke up with double vision. My mouth was so sore, I couldn’t bite into a hamburger on the 4th of July, two months after my accident! And, I had little to no range of motion—could barely turn my head for weeks. The worst— were the panic attacks I suffered for at least a year and then some. Even to this day, I drive miles out of the way to avoid driving across traffic. We’re talking about minor injuries, though, right?
My injuries were easily concealed! My bruises were hidden under clothing. And, I could smile in a way that no-one noticed my chipped teeth. I could walk slowly and blend in with the crowd even though I felt like I was having an out of body experience. I hid my minor injuries as I silently cried, “I’m really not okay!”
Honestly, there are times my heart feels bruised on the inside, but I go on with life like everything is fine, thinking to myself, “I’m Not Okay!” I bet you do too. Sometimes life deals blows that don’t necessarily cut us like a knife, or break us in two, but still leave us tender and sore! It may be disappointments or other frustrations or trials. A lot of times we don’t reach out for help because our injuries are minor compared to what others are going through. Instead we try to hide our pain.
We may be able to hide our hurts from others, but God sees. I can’t help but think of the story of Hagar in Genesis 16. Caught up in the middle of Abram & Sarai’s unbelief and shenanigans, Hagar was hurting and on the run. The angel of the Lord found her and said… “The Lord has heard your cry of distress….” From that point on, Hagar referred to the Lord as “You are the God who sees me!” Being seen and heard validates pain no matter how great or small. Friend, God sees you when you think no one else notices.
Back in those days following my accident, I would use icepacks to reduce swelling and to ease the pain. I have found the Word of God to feel like an ice pack to a bruised heart and sore spirit. His word brings comfort like nothing else. Psalm 119:50 says,“This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.”
We hear a lot these days about the world being broken—and it is, but let’s remember too, that people all around us are managing life with hidden minor injuries. We really don’t know what lies under concealing layers and practiced smiles. Minor injuries are still injuries and need our tender loving care. Kindness just has a way of easing pain and lifting the spirit. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had” (Romans 15:5).