I was distraught as I hurried out of our neighbor’s house. We had been away for a long weekend and returned home to find that we had no electricity.
Karen kindly let me use her phone to call TECO and as I hurried from her house to return home, I caught my arm on the handle of her screen door and felt a sharp pain.
By the time I had crossed the street and reached my front door, I had an enormous 2-inch-wide purple lump on my arm that looked like Stone Mountain in Atlanta, rising at least an inch above the rest of my arm.
Slow down, Judy, it cautioned as I opened our front door.
This bruise and I are going to be friends for a long time.
As someone who takes baby aspirin, I have a proclivity to bruise very easily and this one will make its statement for a while. A week later, the lump was small but the message still large and dark purple — so large and dark that people have begun to ask me what happened when they see it. I explain about my haste and the door knob, and they nod their heads in recognition.
But what has surprised me very much is that the lump has become a kind of life lesson for me. Everyone has bumped into things, whether it’s a door knob, a problem at work, or the hurtful behavior of someone we trusted. Life is full of bumps and bruises.
But watching the bruise on my arm rise, spread and begin very slowly to dissolve and disappear actually has made me thoughtful about the healing process. It happens naturally. The body slowly restores itself. So can the mind, the faith and the spirit after a wound.
Years ago, someone I loved hurt me greatly and we disappeared from each other’s lives by consent. And like bumping into the screen door handle, the pain when it happened was instant, powerful and persistent for a time. Eventually the pain subsided, but what was left was a large dark hole in my heart, an invisible bruise that took years to heal. But heal, it did, just like my arm is doing now.
It left no scars, just lessons — like the door handle. And what have I learned from this bruise-healing process? To accept the fact that life sometimes hurts us; to be patient; to not worry about it.
We can’t rush healing — it takes its own time. But it is an inevitable, natural process. I’ve learned to accept this dark reminder as a consequence of my behavior, to have the faith that it will disappear slowly over much time.
Bananas bruise more easily as they ripen. Apples, if you drop them on the floor, bruise as well. So I’m even more encouraged that this darkening process is a natural one. But apples and bananas do not heal. I do, and I am.
Freelance writer Judy Kramer can be reached by email at JudyandOz@tampabay.rr.com. She is author of “Changing Places: A Journey with My Parents into Their Old Age.”