The odor is pungent, overwhelming my senses as I walk in the door. The smell of rotting flesh fills the air and as I get closer to the wound and see the black, necrotic tissue with gangrenous ooze surrounding the once healthy skin I see inside the wound to the bone. What once was protected by blood vessels, muscles, and soft supple skin is now a cavern inside the body.
It didn't happen overnight, but deterioration occurred quickly. The skin, which was once normal in color and appearance first became red, then, when the pressure that was upon the site continued to impede itself, the pressure between the skin and the bone began to break down because blood flow to the capillaries was impeded. When the pressure was relieved, from moving, blood flow increased and no permanent damage occurred.
However, when there is no change in movement, platelets clot around the skin cells which surround the capillaries and little blood clots develop. The blood clots further impede blood from flowing normally and the tissue around the surrounding area of the pressure begins to die. When the tissue dies, the ulcer turns into a literal open wound that often becomes deep enough to see the bone.
The senses can't comprehend the suffering a wound such as this causes. And the greater unfathomable fact is that just the simple act of moving would have prevented the damage.
Those who cannot move themselves, the paralyzed and the bedridden, can suffer these wounds when they aren't physically moved by someone else. They used to be given a generic term of "bedsores" to describe the breakdown, but it is far beyond soreness that these folks endure. It takes diligence on the part of the caretakers to see to it that their skin is protected and breakdown prevented. It's hard work. It's round the clock work. It's prevention work. It's preservation work.
When we don't move physically our body suffers. But what happens when we don't move spiritually? What breakdown occurs to our souls? What about our minds? When we get stuck in the same ol' same ol', is the possiblity of spiritual, emotional, and even possibly mental breakdown real?
Maybe they're called habits. Maybe they're called ruts. Maybe they get described as "it's just the way we've always done it." Maybe it's the same drive to work everyday. Maybe it's the same thing to eat for breakfast for 20 years. Maybe it's the same reactions to ideas that are different then mine or I don't agree with. Maybe it's the same routine getting ready for work or school. Maybe it's the same pew in church. Maybe it's the same clothes colors, the same patterns, the same haircut.
What if our souls have decubitus ulcers - the medical term for bedsores? What if we just need to change our viewpoint for a short time. What if a new route to work would give you a new neighborhood to explore on your day off? What if sitting in a different spot in church or in the school lunchroom or at your favorite table at your favorite restaurant gave you a new view?
Physical breakdown begins after only a few hours of staying in the same spot. How much damage has been done to our souls by not moving?
It's a tough thought to think. I like my routines. I like a pattern to my day. I have several varieties. I have a routine for my work days, my days off, my Saturday days off.
I like my routines.
But my routines may be impeding a new view that God wants me to see, to be blessed by, to keep the blood flowing.