The wound on my chest is severe. It’s too scary to reveal it to anyone. I can’t tell them how it got there. They might turn away. They might try to cover it and pretend it isn’t there. They might act like they didn’t even see it. They might pour more pain on it. They might not recognize its treasure. They might tell their friends my story. They might not want to understand. They might forget me after I tell them. My wound might go from severe to gaping if I uncover it and I won’t be able to go back.
I touch my precious wound gently with my hand and wonder if there is anyone that will handle it, anyone that can handle it, with care. It’s safe here, hidden without exposure. It’s not getting any better, but it’s not getting any worse. I am safe here. There is too much danger and risk in exposing it.
But the pain in my chest is growing. It’s becoming hard not to show it on my face, in my actions, in my words. Maybe just a little revealing won’t be so bad. Just a small corner.
The first friend doesn’t doesn’t notice it. She walks away from our time together sure we are connected in a special way.
The second friend tries so hard to keep her eyes on my face, but I know she saw it. She pretends like nothing has changed.
The third one gasps. She tells me what it must feel like to have that open wound on my chest. She tells me about another friend like me who had a wound too.
The fourth one sees it and also gasps and tells me about the wound she once had and the pain she went through. I hurt for her pain, but feel my own pain searing within my chest all the more.
The fifth one hands me a beautiful scarf off her shoulders and covers it up for me. “There, that’s better,” she says.
The sixth one insists on taking me to the doctor, all the while offering me advice about how to best heal it. I ask her to take me back home. I’m not ready to see the doctor.
The seventh one sees it and sets up meals for me three times a week and visits me often.
Any of them that dared to, would ask me what happened. I told them it was a very long and heart wrenching story. I didn’t dare to say more. They would nod. Tears might well up in their eyes and spill over onto their cheeks. Some hugged me for a very long time. They are loving me in the ways they know how to love, or the ways they imagine I would feel loved, and maybe in the ways they would feel loved. I have never felt more alone.
I am weary. My pain is only getting worse and I think the wound is getting bigger. It’s starting to ooze through the bandages now. I feel the pain of guilt too because I know my friends are trying–oh so very hard–to do what they might want done for them and their wounds.
The eighth friend looks at my wound with compassion and wondering. I also tell her it’s a long and heart wrenching story. She looks at me with love and says, “Will you tell me your story?” And she sits down and waits.
I feel dazed and confused. And lighter somehow. These must be the words I have longed to hear, for as I look down at my wound, I see that it has stopped oozing. I slowly and cautiously remove the bandage in front of my friend–my first friend I have ever revealed my whole wound too. She sits next to me with her hand near my wound as I start to tell her the story of my wound and my pain. As I share with her, I feel the wound slowly starting to close and heal, starting at the very corner that I first exposed.