*Warning: if you’re the least bit squeamish, skip the first paragraph.*

abscessPhoto credit

Several weeks ago, our (my) cat limped into our house, skin gaping open from the side of her neck. After a few phone calls and a trip to the vet ER (shocking but true — there are emergency rooms for animals), we learned that she’d had an abscess for several days (which explained why I kept expecting to find her curled up dead somewhere). It had burst on its own, leaving a skin pocket large enough to fit a hamster inside.

Suddenly my new-laptop-savings became vet-bill-money. (Silver lining — we had cash to pay the vet. But it doesn’t stop me from being totally bummed. I keep cruising Ebay and the Apple refurb page longingly.)

In the process of figuring out what do with her, we learned a little about infections. Some wounds must be drained, cleaned, trimmed of dead skin, and stitched semi-closed so any remaining infection can drain out during the healing process.

Treating her abscess was like a living breathing parable of my heart, infected with closed unresolved wounds. Those wounds festered for many months. I discovered a strange paradox — the worse the infection became, the more difficult it appeared to me to treat it. I knew that would require lancing — re-opening the wound. Oh how I wished to avoid that. But the pressure, and the pain grew. Try as I might to forget about it, I could not. I had this catch in my spirit, this compulsion to go back and try to make it right.

Finally, I took the medicine. Reluctantly, fearfully, tentatively, I drafted the email, first in my head with much prayer and rewriting. Then, I sat down and typed. Let it sit for a few more days. Rewrote. Would my message be well-received? Would it reopen their old wound and the ensuing carnage spew pus over all of us?

Finally, hands clammy and heart pounding, I clicked “Send.”

Less than 24 hours later, a response dropped into my inbox. Grace, forgiveness, reconciliation. The wound was drained, cleaned, stitched together, finally healing.

I am so thankful.

Where do you need to lance, clean, and treat an old wound?