We all know at least a bit of the science of wound healing just by our life experiences. Our knees get scraped and blood oozes out. Soon it is sticky and a bit darker red. We might put on a Band-Aid. Later, we look to see if a scab has formed, but so far there is some pink tissue at the edges and yellow gummy stuff in the middle. We put on a new bandage and wait a few days. By then there is a hard scab. We try to leave it alone until it unroofs to reveal bright pink, tender new skin. Later, we may have a faint scar if the wound was deep or if we kept annoying the scab. Those observations are the stories of wound healing. In the chapters ahead we will travel inside the body and see what happens on the micro level.
While it may seem wonderful enough that our body stops bleeding and makes a scab, seeing the world of wound healing at the micro-level is more captivating than any Pixar film could portray. Through four separate stages, the wounds of our physical bodies are replaced by new structures – blood vessels, skin, and nerves – a truly transformational process. It is one of the most studied and highly orchestrated biological processes known in science. Over and over again, scientists refer to it as a beautifully choreographed system. Its precision coupled with complexity fascinates both students and experts.
Attending to healing, in all aspects of our gathered lives, is not just for those with special gifts, but is a call that encompasses everyone. Through exploring the science of wound healing, we see in more depth what it means to be a body, how fully formed we are toward collaboration and wholeness, and how much we depend on processes designed to protect our health. This reflection gives us new ways of seeing how emotional and spiritual wounds with our neighbors can be more fully healed. This book is meant to bring light and a way forward to anyone stuck in the pain of their life journey. It is also a companion for all who walk alongside those who suffer.
From “Designed to Heal: What the Body Shows Us About Healing Wounds, Repairing Relationships, and Restoring Community” by Jennie A. McLaurin and Cymbeline Tancongco Culiat