Dogs and Kids and Dumb Things

When I was a kid, I used to think that putting a bandaid on the scrape would make it feel better. It’s the Pavlov’s dog reaction, the false association made in my ignorant mind to ascribe the healing that happened to the tangible symbol before me. Did the bandaid heal my cut? No. It did the minor job of protecting the cut while my immune system (too complex a concept for kid Kelsey) did its important, invisible work. But the bandaid hogged all the glory. And so when I was hurt, I immediately demanded a bandaid, and it would probably work better if it had Disney princesses on it too.

This mistake was not original to kid Kelsey. Those silly idol worshippers in the Old Testament did it too, bowing down to what their own hands crafted. I used to laugh when I read those passages. Who could be so dumb as to worship a wooden statue? But it’s human nature to take comfort in the simple, dumb things around us and we still do it all the time. We get pleasure or happiness coinciding with a thing or person, so we assume the thing or person is the source of the pleasure or happiness, ignorant of the important, invisible force at work (too complex a concept for human Us.) And so we assign glory to something that doesn’t deserve it. It’s the good old correlation=causality myth at work. (Remember from the last post, a gift is merely a reflection of the giver. Where do you think both the thing/person and pleasure/happiness came from?)

We humans love our bandaids. We look for them everywhere when a moment of panic arrives and we need comfort. We’ll use friends or fun or busyness or relationships or self-improvement. Bandaids are easy to find. They’re attractive and unobtrusive. They’re also ineffective.

Sometimes I pray for comfort, wanting God to be my bandaid. But God won’t be my bandaid. He won’t be the surface treatment that brings only shallow, psychosomatic comfort. Instead, he wants to heal me. Why do I so often resist such a wonderful proposition?

Healing is a slow process. It means I have to let him change me. It means I can’t be content to sit around in my wounded state. It means cleaning up the wound and airing it out and that requires pulling off the bandaids.

Healing is scary. But it’s the only thing that really restores us, really makes the pain go away. Bandaids are just clever lies we prescribe for our stubborn children selves. We think they’re an easy fix, but they’re not a fix at all.

Deep down, we know better. We’re not children or dogs. Let’s stop kidding ourselves.

If you’re still looking for a blanket
Sweetie, I’m sorry, I’m no sort of fabric
But if you need a tailor
Then take your torn shirt, and stumble up my stairs
And mumble your pitiful prayers
And in your tangled night’s sleep, our midnight needles go to work
Until all comfort and fear flows in one river
Down on the shelf by the mirror where you see yourself whole
And it makes you shiver

I stopped believing, you start to move
She was like wine turned to water then turned back to wine
I stopped my leaving and the better man bloomed
And you can pour us out and we won’t mind

I was dead, then alive
She was like wine turned to water and turned back to wine
You can pour us out, we won’t mind
A scratch around the mouth of the glass
My life is no longer mine


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