He’d gone outside to get a little fresh air one afternoon and didn’t show up again on the back porch. Instead, I found him yelping in pain by the side of the front porch. He was caked in snow, bloodied, unable to move.
Max was bleeding from the mouth. He had a concussion. His abdomen was torn up inside. Either a dog had attacked him or somebody had pelted him with snowballs. Blood and footprints marked the snow around him.
The vets stitched him back together. For most of a week, he couldn’t even lift his head. Finally, the vets suggested we give him one more day to come around. If there was no progress, then it was probably hopeless.
On the day of decision, Max stood up and took a few unsteady steps. He had turned the corner.
With the help of many loving hands, he had made it through.
A year later, Max is perfectly fine. He jumps, runs, plays chase games with the other cats. One noticeable change: He loves to curl up next to someone. Maybe it makes him feel secure. Or reminds him that he’s being cared for.
He’ll curl up, stretch out a paw to touch your leg, take a deep breath and purr before slipping gently into a contented sleep.
A furry, laptop reminder that life is so precious.
We’re all a little bit like Max. We all get beat up in some ways. We bleed a little bit every day, whether it’s from the annoying paper cuts that life inflicts regularly or the occasional infections in our spirits.
And there are other times when confusion and doubt and borderline despair fester in our souls, causing a pain that throbs and keeps us awake at night.
Thank God for healing hands.
Healing and being healed are the ointment-coated fabric of life. We’re always doing some of each. The two go hand-in-hand.
To channel St. Francis: It is in healing others that we are healed, too.
Each of us has a precious, few people who come into our lives, love us deeply and want to touch us, especially the parts of us that are hurting.
They massage life into our wounds with their gentle hands, their kind eyes and their understanding hearts. They encourage us to take another deep breath, knowing it will make us a little bit better.
They make their soft shoulders available to our aching heads, their kind words available to our troubled souls.
Their love works its way inside of us like spiritual liniment, warming our aching parts and easing our pain. Their love helps us become whole again.
They have the healing touch.
The trick is to open ourselves to their touch rather than keeping our wounds to ourselves. It’s easy to get caught up in our pain and try to hold it inside, where it will infect and corrode us. It can suck the life out of us.
Healers understand that while pain and death are inevitabilities, they’re not finalities. Life transcends both. There’s always a possibility of healing in some ways, even on that last day, in that final breath.
Sometimes, healing begins with someone who loves us pointing out that we’ve got something hurtful in one of our many blind spots. In a sense, they pour germ-killer over the wound, which stings initially but gets the healing started.
They give us a kick-start on using our own healing powers. They remind us that even when it feels like we’re down to our final day, life isn’t finished.
It never is.
Healing is one of life’s greatest miracles. It insists that there will be more, damn it. That life always gets the final say over pain and death.
Sometimes, the final say is a contended purr.