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When Old Wounds Afflict Us Again

December 21, 2017

Another Way for week of December 8, 2017

When Old Wounds Afflict Us Again

I watched a boy maybe 9 or 10 get off his bus on a street in the city. He dashed down a hill in jubilation for it being a Friday afternoon.

I understood his joy in getting out of school for the week, but oh I sucked in my breath that he not fall head first as he scrambled pell-mell down the street. It reminded me of the day I ran to my bus as a first or second grader and in my haste, stumbled and broke a tooth on the steps of the bus. That haste still can be seen in my not-perfect smile. A small but lasting injury.

When we’re young, our bodies heal well; we think a broken arm or ankle or torn ACL will keep us out of school or resting a few days, and will normally heal in a few weeks. And that’s the end of it, right? Athletes especially are tempted back to the court or field too soon.

As someone who’s turned another year older this week, I hate to break this news: old injuries have a way of coming back and haunting us in our 50s, 60s and 70s.

A fall, sports injury or car accident that happened to us in our teens or twenties often crops back up in arthritis, stiffness and pain in later years. Both my husband and I had injuries and accidents that are now showing repercussions as we have edged over 60. I think the osteoporosis in my spine and the mild pain I experience now stems from a fall from scaffolding I had in my early 40s. I know I was extremely fortunate to not have any actual breaks from that fall. But now as I try to move or roll over in bed, I can feel those parts complaining and speaking to me. That’s life.

When we are young we think we are invincible and indeed the body God planned and gave us is amazing in its ability to heal. I wrote about that not long ago in terms of a skinned finger I had in late summer. Now as I look at my finger tip on that hand, I cannot see any trace of a scar.

But I’m also thinking here of the emotional wounds and scars we often carry which may flare up in unexpected ways.

Family relationships are often a source of deepest pain. Divorce, abuse, drugs, alcohol: all these cause severed relationships. Or it could just be something mean a brother or sister said or did when we were ten or in our teens, gnawing at our soul and spirit. Outright abuse, whether verbal or physical, is of course the worst kind of wound and takes years of counseling and emotional work to cope and heal.

Holidays bring families together—and along with great memories and stories—sometimes offhand comments or attitudes still have the ability to get under our skin. When these things keep relatives apart, I find that immeasurably sad. That’s also life, but there are ways to work toward healing, even many years later.

When an accident or serious illness happens, people usually surround the person or family with extra attention and care: cards, emails, visits, meals brought in. Those around the injured or ill person pull together to help the person who is healing. The acts of kindness help to cover the rawness of our wounds. This can be similar to new skin stretching to cover over the raw flesh of a cut or wound. But doctors warn we can become emotionally maimed if others are allowed to take over things we need to do for ourselves in this process.

Time can help heal emotional wounds as well, and we need to open ourselves to that possibility in order for it to take place. The wound can be deep and the grieving process may last over many years. But arduous and perhaps extended group or individual therapy can bring insight, healing, and even forgiveness. So I’m encouraged by those I know who have gone through horrible abuse and have gone on to become beautiful people. They often have the kind of skills and compassion which helps others.

I admire those who dig deep within themselves to keep going—after major surgery on a limb or back, through therapy (physical or emotional), trudging through pain. We all know strong examples of people who keep plugging away well into their 90s. Old wounds—emotional or physical—don’t always cripple or keep us from becoming the fun loving and caring creatures God planned for us to be.


In our local area, the Family Life Resource Center is a great resource for help dealing with these kinds of issues and more. 


My Christmas column will appear December 26, 2017. Until then, I hope you have a beautiful and meaningful Christmas.


My Christmas gift to readers is a small 2018 lighthouse-themed monthly planning calendar, suitable for purse or pocket. Request it by mail from Another Way Media, Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22850 or email me at

Another Way is a column © by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. Columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.











  1. I cope with osteoarthritis traceable to who knows what: a car accident in college, another about 15 years ago, lifting heavy tomato baskets as a youngster – ha! Scars of old emotional wounds remain though I have forgiven those who have inflicted them.

    Happy Birthday to you, Melodie, almost a Christmas baby! And I notice too your column has been in syndication for (wow!) 30 years, what an accomplishment.

  2. Good old osteoarthritis. I would add lifting heavy egg baskets as a kid (to my list of causes), until we got the chicken house with cages and we gathered eggs on carts.

    Three of my gifts this year combined birthday-Christmas budgets for the givers–which was fine! I got a new camera which I’m hoping to try out and use here on the blog soon. It’s still a pretty simple camera (like I requested) but has better zoom options. I have a brother and sister with closer Christmas birthdays–today Dec. 26 and my sister’s daughter was also born Dec. 26. Lots to celebrate in December. (I better get some texts on the way, thanks for the prod on that that!)

    I’m learning about your emotional wounds and know how freeing it is to be able to forgive others for long ago wounds, even if they have such lasting scars.

    Happy boxing day.

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