KAMIAH — Growing up, especially during my teenage years, I could have bet with you, that I was the shyest person on the planet. I felt like a big “L” for “loser” was stamped on my forehead for everyone to see. Starting a conversation with anyone, especially girls, seemed impossible, and if it happened, my face would turn the bright color of a ripe tomato. I felt like the lion during the times of the gladiators, who instead of devouring his prey, cowered in fear in a corner of the arena. When he was later asked why he was afraid he replied that his intended victim had whispered into his ear as he wanted to begin his “feast” that he would be required to share a few words after dinner.
Maybe that’s also why I was an easy target for the class bully. Apparently helpless, unable to stand up for myself, he taunted me in front of other classmates, hoping I would start crying and further embarrass myself. When intimidation was no longer enough, he threw the first punch. When I came home with scrapes and bruises, I received more wounding. Instead of receiving some compassion, I was hurt more when I was questioned why I had been so stupid and did not defend myself.
You may interject “That’s nothing, let me tell you my story.... “I agree with you! My experience may appear to be nothing compared to your pain — but my point is that we are all wounded souls.
The wounds we receive cut deep and even though time passes, they do not automatically get well. Why else would I remember this so vividly, even after more than 40 years? Once our wounds are tended to, they may heal or be ripped open again by another experience that reminds us of what was before. Even in the best case scenario, a scar remains.
So can we be made whole? Is it possible to no longer be held down by the wounds we received in the past or present? I believe so. I know so! By letting Creator God tend to our hurts, and by forgiving those who wounded us we can become whole. The scars will remind us every now and then, but the stinging pain is gone. “If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there.” (Psalm 34:18)
Volkhard Graf is with Youth With A Mission in Kamiah.