Ever wonder what that “thorn” in St. Paul’s side was? I sure do. It’s a great mystery, but we can all relate. Each of us has a thorn. Sometimes we fight it, sometimes we accept it, sometimes we forget it’s there until the tender spot gets bumped along life’s journey.
My thorn is a frustration with not being understood. One of my earliest childhood memories is a time in toddlerhood when I was trying desperately to talk and being completely misunderstood. It’s a theme that has followed me throughout the stages of my life, and it’s rather irritating. I comprehend intellectually that not everyone is going to “get” my idiosyncrasies and nuances, and that I cannot expect anyone to read my mind. Still, emotionally, I have a desperate need to be “known” without having to explain. After all, my “explaining” usually just leaves me and others even more confused.
When I first heard this song, it was like Susan Ashton had spent time in my head and put what she experienced to music. This song is more “me” than anything I’ve ever heard. I do harbor private wounds, a backstory that hides behind eloquence. I write about the wounds that have healed, and keep the fresh ones to myself until they need the light and air to finish the healing process.
I am so grateful to have a God who does understand me, even better than I understand myself. I don’t have to tell everyone everything, all at once. I no longer have to expect others to “get” me. I am free to just love them, and just be me. God can reveal me far better than I can reveal myself anyway.
Funny thing about my “thorn.” It’s also one of my greatest gifts. If not for my obsession with being understood, I might never have been so driven to write clearly and concisely. I might never have been drawn to journalism and communications. Who knows where my thorn might take me. I’m grateful.