Are You Hanging On To Old Wounds?

Voodoo Doll
Image courtesy of creepyhalloweenimages

A man walks into a bar with an arrow sticking out of his chest.

He walks up to the astonished barman and asks for a beer.

The barman stares in disbelief at the arrow poking out through an old check shirt encrusted with dried blood.

He asks: “What the hell happened to you?!”

The man, rolling his eyes, says ” What does it look like? I was shot in the chest with an arrow!”

“Does it hurt?”, says the barman, staring at the arrow while pouring the beer.

“What do you think?”

“Why don’t you go to hospital and have it taken out and get yourself patched up?”

“No! I’m not letting any doctor take this arrow out! That the job of the evil S.O.B who shot me. He’s the only one who can take the arrow and the pain away!”

“That’s stupid!”, says the barman, “You should have someone remove that arrow and patch you up. I’ll phone a paramedic, you could be free of that problem in half an hour”.

“No! You don’t get it! Only the man who shot me can make this right, I’m waiting for him to come to me on bended knee and apologise for what he’s done, he can take out the arrow and then we’re done. He did the damage, he can make it better”

The barman studies the arrow noticing how old and tattered it looks, some of the feathers are missing, the wood is stained and splintered. He also notices that the mans shirt is old, ragged and dirty.

“When did you get shot?”

“20 years ago! … one of the worst days of my life!”

“What!!! You’ve been walking around with an arrow in your chest for 20 years! Are you nuts!”

Indignant the man says: “No, I’m in pain, can’t you respect my suffering?”

“Yeah, but 20 years!”, pointing at the arrow, “Doesn’t that cause you problems?”

“You bet. It hurts like hell, I have to avoid revolving doors, and can’t do press-ups, it’s a real nuisance”

“And you’re waiting for this guy to come and take the arrow out?”

“Yeah”

“Isn’t that unlikely, I mean he did shoot you in the first place. Why would he want to help you?”

“He should do it! It’s only right that he should make amends for what he did”

“Do you know where is he?”

“Yeah. In the cemetery. He’s been dead for seven years”

“What! How can he take the arrow out if he’s dead? You need to get someone else to take out the arrow”

“No way, that’s his job! I’d rather go to my grave suffering than let him get away with what he did by having someone else take this arrow!”

“You’re crazy! You’re holding onto this pain waiting for someone who will never come to make it all better”

“You don’t understand”, says the man finishing his beer, “Nobody ever does … “, putting down his empty glass he leaves the bar (being very careful of the swing doors).

That’s crazy isn’t it? Who would walk around with an arrow in their chest for 20 years.

On the other hand, how many of us have got old wounds and hurts that we have been carrying around for years waiting for the other person to fix? If each of those wounds had their own arrow most of us would look like pin cushions.

Isn’t it time to let some of those hurts go and apply a little forgiveness?

4 thoughts on “Are You Hanging On To Old Wounds?

  1. Thanks Andy for posting this story.

    What if we were able to see all the wounds a person has?
    Would there be more acceptence for psychological issues?
    Would we react differently to people?
    Would we be shocked by the number of wounds?

    YES, it’s time for forgiveness.
    It’s time to free yourself.

    Blessings
    Michaela

    • Thanks Michaela, I think the answers to your questions are:

      • I’d like to think there would be more acceptance, but if you could see everybody’s wounds in this way most people would be freaked out. It would be a dramatic transformation.
      • I think we would react differently to people and they to us (we all have our own wounds as well)
      • I certainly think we’d all be shocked
      • Maybe after the surprise wore off we’d all want to do something about it.

      Perhaps they would create special hospital departments where people could go to have their arrows removed and be show how to “forgive and remember”.

      Meanwhile, back in our world, perhaps we could just get on with a bit of forgiving.

  2. This is a great story! People often don’t realise the damage they do to themselves by hanging on to ancient hurts and wrongs. It’s not that these hurts and wrongs don’t matter. Of course they do. It would not make sense (say) for a battered wife to take back an abusing partner as though it didn’t matter. It does matter – which is perhaps an even stronger reason for the person who has suffered to make the decision let go and move on. And, it has to be a decision. If we wait until we “feel” like letting go, it will probably never happen. In the English language we tend to weaken words by over-use – such as “terrible” and “deadful” – yet (to me) the word “forgive” must be one of the most powerful and does not get any less by usage. Thanks again for the article

  3. Thanks Alasdair, I think you are spot-on.

    Lots of people have forgiveness linked to condoning the act that is being forgiven, that you are letting the other person off the hook. I think the purpose of forgiveness is to let yourself off the hook of all the bad feeling about whatever was done.

    You can still know that what happened was wrong and fight for justice if that is appropriate but you don’t have to be a prisoner of your own suffering while you do it.

    One of my favourite definitions of forgiveness comes from the actress Lily Tomlin: “Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past!” I think she’s got it right.

    In my opinion letting your past poison the present is a really bad idea.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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