Friday, 9 January 2015

The Debate: Time Heals All

Does time really heal all wounds? I don’t know who the first person to say this was, but during my eighteen years on the planet which clearly make me an expert on life, I’ve both learned and decided it to be true.

And if you disagree, I get that, really I do. This is a phrase very much open to interpretation.

First of all, we need to look at what “time” is. Is it a day? Is it a year—six months—a decade? “Time” can only be defined, not even as the length of time before the morning you wake up and feel OK again, but as the length of time it takes for things begin to seem just a little better than they did the day before. You’ve got to look at the time it will take before you start to recover, and then the time that recovery will take.

Which brings me to my next question: what classifies as healing? There seems to be this impression that someone who goes through a trial of some sort is “healed” when they feel on top of the world once more.

This is unrealistic, and is simply not the case.

Four weeks ago my flatmate and I broke the “don’t drink and cook” rule and made—by which I mean defrosted and heated up—chicken nuggets after a night out. I can’t quite remember who moved what where, but I ended up burning my forearm on the baking tray. Because I had had a little to drink (and then a little more), I didn’t really think the burn was painful and didn’t bother running it under the tap. Mum, if you’re reading this, I KNOW.

So now, the burn has healed. It no longer hurts, and there’s no longer a peeling scab which by the way did not make the best accessory to my pretty Christmas Ball dress. But there’s still a pink mark on my arm. It hasn’t disappeared. I haven’t gone back in time and stopped it from happening. I can still remember it. It hasn’t faded into insignificance just yet.

Nor should it.

“Healing” doesn’t mean I never burned myself. It doesn’t mean I never made the stupid mistake. It doesn’t even mean that nobody can see it, that I’m not affected by it. It means that I’m no longer suffering and in pain, and it means that my arm has improved immensely since I burned myself. No more, no less.

Healing doesn’t mean everything goes back to the way it was before. It just means that after an unspecified amount of time, whatever has happened to you or however you felt won’t take over your life any more. You might miss someone less than you thought you would. You might get less sad or angry when you think of something. You might find a gap in your life is well on its way to being filled with people and moments and memories and places that make things… different. Better.

I’m afraid that’s all I can promise you.

Don’t ask for the moon when waiting for “time to heal all”. Just be assured that in its own way, it will. 

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