Who in their right mind would leave a splinter, a speck, less than half a centimetre in length in their thumb for four days? Four days of pain and annoyance as this tiny dot made its presence felt continually while everyday living tried to happen. Who would be so stupid? Me, that’s who.
Call me crazy but I have deep splinter issues. Splinter issues that would border on a fear of splinter removal (do they have a word for that yet – splinter-aphobia?). This may sound weird but my deep seeded splinter fears come from a day that started with so much promise, as all days at church camp do when you’re all of seven years old. We were at a most beautiful campsite which had a large hall with a wrap around veranda made of wooden planks. While running around playing on this veranda I ended up with a large junk of wood in my bare foot. It was almost too big to be called a splinter as it was at least an inch and a half long and up to a centimetre wide at one place. I think junk is a better description than splinter because it was jaggered and uneven and very much stuck in my foot. I remember the pain of this alien object in my foot and various people’s opinions and attempts to remove it. I remember sitting for hours with my foot in a basin trying the “soak it out” method of removal.
So forgive me when, two decades plus later, in still feeling this trauma I tried to deny and to hide my tiny splinter in my thumb as I tried to “Savlon and band-aid it out” method for a day or two and then in the business of camp chose to ignore it until it started to look a weird red.
One of the things us single girls miss out on, is having that person who we feel safe to ask help us do strange personal things like remove splinters, pop pimples or check moles. So I felt a little strange asking one of my friends at camp to help me. Until this tiny thing got too red and sore to ignore any more. So I asked my friend Doug. I figured he’s gentle and practical and wouldn’t tease me if I winced and cried, so I took a deep breath, summoned my courage and asked.
I couldn’t believe that it only two seconds to get the thing out and no pain at all! It took me a good five minutes to find the tweezers, Savlon and band aids in the first aid kit and three minutes to put them all away afterwards but only two seconds to get it out. And once out you could barely see the thing, it was so tiny! And yet it had caused me days of irritation and pain, both physically and emotionally.
Sometimes it’s not the planks or logs in our lives that cause the most pain. Sometimes it’s the seemingly tiny things, the splinter, the specks, that distract us and hurt us while we try to deny them and cover them up with cream and band aids. If only I had asked someone to help me earlier. If only we take those internal splinters to Jesus earlier and be honest with Jesus and with ourselves and ask for help. That splinter may be jealousy, fear, pride, rejection, doubts, or worry but if you leave it in there it will either become a part of who you are as the skin grows over it and it’s permanently stuck in your skin. Or it will become infected and bring more pain and anguish.
It’s really only our fear stopping us from asking for help. So be bold and ask Jesus for help in removing your splinters and specks today, it will be worth it 🙂
“Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” Luke 6:42
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