“Time heals all wounds.”
We’ve heard it before. It’s the saying that we’ve held close and hoped would tend to our hurt. We’ve put the bandages away. We’ve tucked the polysporin back into the medicine cabinet. And we’ve hoped, however in vain, that the days passing further away from the moment life cut into us would stop its bleeding. But some wounds are too big for time to soothe on its own. Left alone, they begin to fester, rather than scab over and fade into memory as an unsightly scar.
The truth is, time is a helper, not a cure-all. Time won’t undo what was taken from us. Time won’t rebuild our trust, or even levy our skepticism of the world. Instead, all the things that we actively seek out in the distance between our wounds helps heal them. Time is irrelevant when we are still reeling from a devastating breakup six months later because we’ve completely shut ourselves away, refused to let go of our anger, and haven’t hit water since our significant other called it quits.
Six months, however, can be extremely transformative, healing even, if it is time that we spend nurturing the good in our lives. Goodness isn’t simply binge-watching Bates Motel on Netflix in our underwear on a Tuesday afternoon and protesting our heartbreak with questionable shower and laundry habits. Goodness is investing in ourselves and our talents, our studies, reconnecting with our community and our friends, doing things that make our time count. Which hopefully includes a decent shower (I’m looking at you, four-months-ago me).
Time is a powerful mistress, but she is not a god. She does not heal all wounds. And that’s okay.
Time helps heal our wounds by the landmarks we erect by the scars. The monuments of adventures with friends and the accomplishments we write into stone can help us navigate away from the crater that was our heartbreak, our trauma. Sometimes they overshadow it completely. Sometimes they simply lessen its burden. And with effort, with conviction, that road of distance from our wound becomes a blossoming highway, a garden of greater reminders. It grows indebted to time, but not simply by virtue of it. Perhaps most profoundly, time heals us by giving us the space to heal ourselves.