I have been mind-blown this week watching the incision on my hand heal. Three weeks ago, I came home in a soft cast and was instructed not to move my arm very much because of the incisions on my hand and elbow. Today, the cut on my hand is completely sealed up and covered with a new layer of skin. During surgery, the doctors put dissolvable stitches at the dermis level and they sealed the epidermis with stitches on the outside. I had no idea that this outer layer of stitches was holding my hand together so the deeper healing could occur as a result of the inner stitches.
As I peeled the dead skin off this weekend, I realized how important it was to have an outer, protective layer. This hard, dead, outer skin was providing a safe place for healing. Without this layer of protection, my hand would not have healed as quickly.
It made me think about our awesome, Cowboy football team, also known as State Champions! When they run an offensive play, there are players whose whole job is to protect the man with the ball. These blockers keep the ball safe by pushing away unwanted opponents. They run alongside the quarterback or receiver and do everything they can to get him closer to the goal. They are his protection, his buffer. They make sure he has safe passage and without a blocker, he will often get tackled and lose momentum.
That outer layer of skin and those offensive blockers paint a picture of what our close and special relationships should look like. When we have deep wounds and hurts that seem to never end, we need time to heal. We need friends and family surrounding us to act as that outer, protective layer. They know our vulnerable areas, they see the triggers, and they are there, blocking entry from any unwanted opponent. They are our buffers and allow us to have safe passage on our way to the goal.
Maybe it’s divorce, death, sickness, job loss, addiction, relational turmoil, rejection, anxiety, or just emotional overload; no matter what it is, we need to stop trying to heal the wound or run the plays by ourselves. We were designed for community. We need to share our pain with our closest friends and let them block for us. They will find ways to protect us as we heal, but if they don’t know we are struggling, they will likely miss the block and we will go down in a hard tackle. Sharing allows for caring. If we are trying to heal and protect ourselves all alone, we will end up ripping open the stitches and causing deeper pain and suffering.
If you see a friend who is struggling, talk to them. Be there. Learn how to protect them and be their buffer. Learn how to stand beside them, as a guardian of their soul, and protect them at all costs. Be the outer layer. Be the blocker. Be the buffer.