While I was walking the dog in the dark, early hours this morning, I was trying to think of what I should blog about today. But I was distracted by the sore on the back of my right hand that the dog's leash kept irritating.
See, the handle of the leash at some point scraped too hard on the high middle knuckle on the back of my hand and broke the skin a bit. And because of its prominent position jutting out proudly from the top of my dominant hand, that tender little spot now gets re-scraped over and over by various other offenders -- the lid of the container of cleaning wipes, the opening of the bag of dried cranberries . . . but most often and most offensively by the handle of that cursed dog leash. My knuckle just hurts like the bloody dickens.
Yes, I try holding the leash in my left hand, but I'm apparently a right-handed dog walker. My mind wanders and the sudden flash of pain shows that I've reverted to old habits again. I have to be constantly aware of this sore spot and protect it, or it just gets scraped up again.
I'm reading a book called When You've Been Wronged. It's about moving from bitterness to forgiveness in relationships. It has been bringing to mind people in my life who injure like the dog's leash -- they attack the same spot on my spirit, over and over and over. I can't avoid these people any more than I can avoid walking the dog (unless I want to deal with messes in my house). So I just have to always be conscious of this open sore, allowing a cushion of air around it in hopes it won't get scraped again.
That's a tiring way to relate to someone. And it doesn't allow much space for real relationship. I find myself getting annoyed at these people because they don't bend or move to accommodate my sores. But then, why would they? My sores don't hurt them.
But, you know, the important and valuable relationships in my life are the ones where my sores do hurt them. Where they are willing to bend and move themselves to keep from causing me pain. That's a true lover. Bear one another's burdens, scripture tells us. I need lovers like that . . and I need to be a lover like that. I need to look at the people I love today and make sure I'm moving and bending myself to protect the sores on their spirits.