Years ago, a colleague mentioned that she’d been reading a book titled The Blessing of a Skinned Knee. I’ve never picked up – much less read – the book myself, but its title has stayed with me.
In my mind, “the blessing of a skinned knee” is a reminder that small annoyances – even painful ones – serve as clarifying tools, helping us to keep things in perspective, reminding us the difference between what’s really important and what’s just a nuisance, urging us sometimes simply to slow down and refocus.
It’s not always skinned knees, of course. Sometimes it’s a splinter or a paper cut. Sometimes it’s minor illnesses, like the one that has kept me home with a child this week. Sometimes it’s enough snowfall to keep us from venturing out in a motor vehicle. Sometimes it’s an ultimately-amusing unclear communication about which verses we’ll sing in a Sunday morning hymn.
And sometimes the clarifying tool is a bigger, albeit ordinary, thing – like the clarity that sometimes comes when a loved one is dying a good death, and what is most important at this time becomes unmistakably apparent.
Scrapes and bruises, heartache, challenges … in a life fully lived, they’re bound to come at one time or another. And I don’t really wish you a skinned knee – or any other nuisances, minor or otherwise. But when it happens, as it surely will, I hope it also brings clarity and insight … a blessing amidst the discomfort.