While thinking about all of this, I have wondered why it has happened. I am thankful that I did not damage the finger and that the lost fingernail is the worst that happened. While it was painful and still hurts at times, it was not as severe an injury as it could have been. It could have been much worse. But I still wonder what God will teach me through this experience. So far, I have learned a few things.
The first became apparent rather quickly. God was showing me I needed to be patient. Patience is something I am not fond of and I am not very good at. I like to get things done and not wait for things. Yet I had to wait and be patient, even though I didn't do a very good job of it. I needed help bandaging the finger, I needed help opening jars, I needed help cutting up food, I needed help with basic, everyday things. Things I have been able to do by myself for some times now. I not only had to continue to learn patience, but I had to also learn how to ask for help and have others do things for me. I didn't like this, I felt like a child who needed help, and I didn't want to ask for help for such "little" things. After pondering, I realized that this kind of thing happens in our relationship with God as well as with those around us. Sometimes, we think we don't need help. We can do it on our own. But in truth, we need to pray and ask God for help, especially in those times when we think we can handle things on our own. Our Father in Heaven loves us and is there for us. We need to remember that when we think we can handle everything.
The other thing that God has shown me is that sometimes we need to peel back the dead skin in our lives in order to see the beauty underneath. We must remove the ugliness in our lives in order to let God in. When the dead skin on my finger stated peeling, I thought of the story in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis. In that story, Eustace becomes a dragon, then he encounters Aslan, the lion. Here is that part of the story:
“The water was as clear as anything and I thought if I could get in there and bathe it would ease the pain in my leg. but the lion told me I must undress first. Mind you, I don’t know if he said any words out loud or not.
I was just going to say that I couldn’t undress because I hadn’t any clothes on when I suddenly thought that dragons are snaky sort of things and snakes can cast their skins. Oh, of course, thought I, that’s what the lion means. So I started scratching myself and my scales began coming off all over the place. And then I scratched a little deeper and , instead of just scales coming off here and there, my whole skin started peeling off beautifully, like it does after an illness, or as if I was a banana. In a minute or two I just stepped out of it. I could see it lying there beside me, looking rather nasty. It was a most lovely feeling. So I started to go down into the well for my bathe.
But just as I was going to put my feet into the water I looked down and saw that they were all hard and rough and wrinkled and scaly just as they had been before. Oh, that’s all right, said I, it only means I had another smaller suit on underneath the first one, and I’ll have to get out of it too. So I scratched and tore again and this underskin peeled off beautifully and out I stepped and left it lying beside the other one and went down to the well for my bathe.
Well, exactly the same thing happened again. And I thought to myself, oh dear, how ever many skins have I got to take off? For I was longing to bathe my leg. So I scratched away for the third time and got off a third skin, just like the two others, and stepped out of it. But as soon as I looked at myself in the water I knew it had been no good.
Then the lion said – but I don’t know if it spoke – ‘You will have to let me undress you.’ I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.
The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know – if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.
Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I was smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on – and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again.”
(Book quote from http://citylifecrossroads.wordpress.com/2009/10/20/eustace-the-dragon-meets-aslan/)
As this part of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader explains, the layers needed to be peeled back in order to be whole again. As much as Eustace tried to do it on his own, he needed help. In the same way, God uses situations in our lives to peel back the layers and to show us that He will help us through. As my finger heals, I am reminded constantly that He is the great Healer and that He will be there with me through it all.
*(photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jyllish/3096336030/">jyllish</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photo pin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">cc</a>)