The opening sentence in author Scott Peck’s classic 1978 book The Road Less Traveled is as true today as it was then. The observation “Life is difficult” may be even truer today than it was over four decades ago.
One of the things that makes life difficult is the wounds we receive along the way. All of us have been hurt in a variety of ways by others. Often unintentionally, but sometimes intentionally, we are hurt and wounded by family, friends, foes, and others.
Some of our wounds are lesser scrapes and bruises and we heal quickly. Others are painful deep cuts that do not go away easily. Deep cuts, bruises, and scrapes are all inflicted by words, actions, betrayals, and misunderstandings.
(In this post I am focusing on our wounds, but we should also note that not only are we wounded in life, we also wound others. Perhaps this reminder that we also wound others will challenge and convict us to be more aware of pain we inflict.)
Through the years I have noted a variety of situations in which a person who was wounded has not allowed the wound to heal. Deep wounds are slow to heal, but holding on to and picking at one is not helpful. And the reality is that even as the worst wounds heal they do leave scars.
For many the challenge of a deeply hurtful wound is with the passing of time to let go and move on. I’m not suggesting that doing so is easy or automatic. Letting go means we don’t repeatedly replay in our minds what happened and how hurtful it was. Letting go also means we give up the idea of getting back at or paying back the one who hurt us. Letting go does not mean a person who has been wounded puts himself or herself in a position to be wounded again by the same person.
As we let go we also need to move on as well. I’m not exactly sure what moving on means in every situation of a deep wound. It doesn’t mean we miraculously forgive and forget or that we get over it. Some wounds are so deep and painful we never get over them. But for our own healing and health I do think we need to make progress looking ahead and not stay stuck in the past.
Deep wounds can be the result of such things as abuse, abandonment, neglect, infidelity, divorce, termination from a job, constant belittling, gross disrespect, false charges, rejection, and much more.
Not to say Scott Peck was wrong, but I prefer to say life can be difficult. Most of us know that because we have been recipients of pain and wounds from others. When wounded our challenge is not to aggravate or prolong the pain ourselves. What seems appropriate to me is that we take steps to let what hurt us go and move on. It may take time and effort, but will hopefully be worth it.
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