As a small child, the removal of splinters was as close a trip to hell as I could possibly imagine. Little fingertips and feet, plainly sensitive spots, seem to be a magnet for slivers. And mine were no exception. I remember well the onset of torment that occurred upon finding a sliver under my skin. My fear of Mom’s treatment knew no bounds. I was positively irrational about it, and no appeal to dignity or pride would mellow my response. I would put off telling her as long as I could. That said, having never been a “high pain tolerance” individual, I monitored the heck out of the wound and usually ended up reporting it to her within a day. After bath time, or some sort of soak for the offending digit, the train wreck began. Needle preparation (why was I watching?) initiated the panic attack. The tweezers were found and sterilized next, only prolonging the agony. By the time we were ready for surgery, I had become a crazed patient, requiring restraint. That would be Dad. He held me, as well as he could, while I wailed. They could still my limbs but not my lungs. I remember the feeling of the needle digging around under my skin to this day. It seemed like the procedure took hours. The sense of relief at operation’s end was nothing short of intoxicating. The bubbly dance of the Hydrogen Peroxide over the operation site was tolerable because it meant the suffering was finally at an end.
There is a point to this pansy’s trip down memory lane. I think little injustices are like slivers. The trifling slights or indignities that hurt our feelings and find their way under our skin on any given day tend to get stuck there. They burrow into sensitive spots and begin to fester almost immediately. We can try and pretend they aren’t there, but that’s awfully tough to do. They throb pretty good within moments. The only thing for it is immediate removal before infection makes it a really big deal. And I know just the parent for the job.
It’s bound to happen. If not today, then tomorrow. If not to me, then to one I love. We will experience the indignity of some little injustice. When it comes, help me bring that splinter to you right away. I ask you to dig it out so I can be done with it and not provide a space for infection to fester. These things happen to us all, and rarely are they intended to be personal. Give me the gracious humility to see it for what it is. And for those situations that are less innocuous, yank the buggers out quick before I work myself into a frenzy over them. I’ll try and restrain myself while you remove the sliver, cleanse the wound, and send me on my way.
kp January 2013