Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What Lies Beneath?

Photo Credit: jenny downing via Compfight cc

Last week my daughter Emilia had minor surgery on her face. A little piece of gravel that had embedded itself deep in her cheek finally had to be cut out.

The tiny rock had been there since Emilia was three or four. One minute she was swinging delightedly, Grandma pushing her. The next minute she just let go, and dropped face-first onto the gravel. Grandma was horrified. (To be fair, Emilia has always had a love-hate relationship with swings: she loves them and they hate her.)

Accidents like these happen often in childhood, and after we cleaned up the scrapes there didn’t seem to be any lasting harm done (other than Grandma’s poor conscience.) No one noticed that little piece of rock beginning to burrow its way into my sweet girl’s soft cheek.

Years passed and the only sign of the foreign object was the littlest hole to the right of Emilia’s mouth. Not a deep hole, but the kind that looked like a chicken pox scar. For the longest time that’s what I thought it was.

When Emilia got old enough to start wearing makeup, she noticed the mark and it bothered her. Sometimes she would pick at it, and push on it, finally discovering that she could feel something deep inside. We asked our doctor about it, but he wanted to leave it alone, figuring the scar to remove it would be worse than the little hole.

Being an impulsive teenage girl, one day she decided to try and remove the object herself with a needle. That attempt ended up with a swollen, infected bump on her face and a trip to the emergency room. The doctor said she should see a plastic surgeon to get the gravel removed properly. That led us to last week’s surgery.

Finally we were taking it seriously and removing that long embedded foreign body from Emilia’s face. It had been there for so many years, neglected and unnoticed. A small wound that had become a part of her, never really healing. It reminded me of all the things that we like to cover over in our lives.

Sometimes our offenses and bitterness or the little things that upset us seem small enough that we don’t bother to deal with them. Instead of removing them from our hearts and minds, we just cover over them, letting them burrow deeper into our being. There they become a part of us that we can’t even feel.

Cutting out the piece of gravel was much more painful for Emilia than leaving it where it was. The surgeon had to dig much deeper than expected, and the piece was larger than anyone thought. When it came out, it took some flesh with it. 

Truth be told, the scar will be bigger than the hole. But leaving a foreign body under her skin could lead to much more damage in the future than we could imagine. Now she is recovering, which is a painful process. But she looks forward to smooth skin with no imperfection under the surface that she knows is hiding and could cause untold problems down the road.

Digging out those bitter feelings, offenses, and hurts is painful, and harder than you might expect. Leaving them hiding underneath the surface lets them become a part of you. It is a wound that looks nearly invisible on the outside but never completely heals. Who knows the damage that could be caused if you leave those things to fester? If you take the time to carefully work your way down to the root and tear out those negative things, that wound will finally heal and be as clear and fresh as a baby’s cheek.


  1. your best so far!


  2. Thank you, Randy! I appreciate you coming by and reading my posts!

  3. Thank you, Yvonne! You are a wise woman, and I am so happy you liked it.

  4. Uh oh, I think I have one of those wounds. How do you dig out those hurts?

  5. Definitely not with a needle, LaDonna! Thanks for asking. Forgiveness, even when it's hard, brings peace and healing. There is a great article which breaks down the steps to forgiveness here: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/divorce_and_infidelity/forgiveness_and_restoration/the_freedom_in_forgiveness.aspx

  6. This is gorgeous in so many, many ways. Thank you for sharing!