One day Mr. Bear was happily walking in the woods, feeling pretty good about himself and about life in general. He felt soooo good on this particular day, especially when he spied a fantastic looking patch sunlit of grass that was begging to be rolled in. He couldn’t wait! So Mr. Bear gambolled towards it focused only on that juicy rolling spot, but as he came closer he found himself in the middle of some very nasty, sharp thorns! They were everywhere! They pierced his skin and embedded deeply in his body.
Rolling in the sun was forgotten. In fact, everything was forgotten! Mr. Bear cried and fell to the ground, only getting more thorns stuck in his coat. He yowled, growled and screamed. He lay on his back panting, bleeding. He wondered what had happened to him and how he could make the pain go away.
But he didn’t know what to do, and he couldn’t get the thorns out. Eventually, Mr Bear’s body adapted to the thorns and grew a protective coating around each one. Now Mr. Bear could move around without too much pain, as long as he was careful about things.
Mr. Bear lived like that for a long time. It wasn’t as though he could be his normal bear self – he was still in pain every day but it was easier to handle if he only did certain things and not others. So he learned to adapt. Mr. Bear became very withdrawn and didn’t like spending time with other bears, because it made him sad to see all the things he could no longer do. And because the thorns were invisible, none of the other bears could see that there was anything wrong with him.
But after a while, Mr. Bear’s body got sick of protecting him from the thorns and started to work at pushing them out! This caused a whole lot more pain – new pain, too. Different. It was sharp and extended pain, and knew he couldn’t do much about it. But it made him feel very irritable. That is, when he didn’t feel like crying. But in general bears don’t cry!! So Mr. Bear did his best to hold back his tears, no matter how much pain he was in.
A few weeks later, Mr. Bear came across a tree that looked as though it’d be useful for relieving an itch on his hind quarters. Very carefully, of course. While he scratched against the tree, he accidentally rubbed up against a thorn that was now sticking out half-way from one of his back legs. But he noticed too late and the rough tree bark caught on the thorn, pulling it all the way out!
Of course, that really hurt Mr. Bear a lot. But afterwards it was such a relief! So Mr. Bear formulated a plan and slowly over time, worked all of the thorns out in the same way.
Each time he managed to get another thorn out, he felt better. But he also felt weak, too. His body was sore and so used to holding on to all the pain that he realised he was tired from all the stress.
So Mr. Bear took it easy. He didn’t try to do it all in one day. He rested in between his efforts, getting as much food and sleep as he needed to face his next battle.
And when it was finally all over, Mr. Bear had an extra long rest. Because healing is really hard work…
I’ve been meaning to write this up for a while. It’s a story that’s been floating around my brain and kinda helped guide me through all the really tough times in recent years. I wrote a draft of it as a comment on someone else’s blog, and it was suggested that I post it here.
Basically, the moral of the story is: we can only keep our hurts inside our body and mind for so long. Eventually those thorns/splinters have to come out. Even if it hurts to remove them, it’s much better in the long run. Also, sometimes we’re in so much pain, we forgot how strong and capable we really are.
This little story is dedicated to everyone out there still dealing with their own world of thorns…