Splinters in the Body

My four-year-old has a superpower. He is the best human I have ever seen at acquiring splinters... I'm not even sure that splinters are something you acquire, like an inheritance, but he manages to do it well. Running his hands along even the smoothest of wood almost inevitably results in a sliver of wood, shoved under his skin, and the tears that come with it.

Thankfully, my husband's superpower is the removal of splinters. He sits patiently, his inconsolable firstborn across his lab, studying the splinter, holding the tweezers, shushing our son as he digs into the seemingly fragile top layers of skin trying to grab the end of the wood. Sometimes it slips deeper into the integument, requiring a needle, a small form of surgery in our living room. But Jeff presses on, determined. Because, as you know, leaving the splinter in and avoiding the immediate pain only causes bigger problems later.

Sometimes relationships within the Body are ripped out of our lives. By the Body, I mean the church. And that ripping? That leaves splinters. Fragments of a strong oak withered down to slivers of wood stuck in the outermost layers of our being, causing infections as we continue to ignore them.

I like to pretend that people come and go and that I am largely unaffected. All I need is Jesus! He is my anchor! I am super Christian!

 But every now and again, I notice another splinter that betrays my seemingly lackadaisical attitude. A resentment. A root of bitterness that I cannot continue to ignore... not for the sake of my own soul. I might make a passive aggressive comment when I hear someone's name. That's the fruit of a splinter.

I wish I knew the cure. I wish there was some sort of medicine I could take that would instantly change me... an expedited sanctification pill. Until then, I have to do the painful work of removing each individual splinter as I find it... some deeper than others. Recognizing the fruit of ones that have gotten so deep, that I no longer see them for what they are.

Also? I have to continue putting myself into relationships that could eventually leave more splinters. I can't get jaded. I can't fall into the habit of self-preservation, a thickening of my skin. It might protect me from further splinters, but I also miss out on life and joy and community. Friendship. And hopefully, in the future, I can catch the splinters earlier.


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