By Ava Pennington—

A fellow writer, Lisa Jordan, once wrote on her Facebook page: “Typing with a Band-aid on is like talking with a mouthful of Novocaine.”

I chuckled at her simile and moved on. A few days later, I accidentally cut the cuticle on the middle finger of my right hand. No problem. Compared to other injuries I’ve suffered over the years, on a scale of one to ten, this didn’t even merit a one. I covered it with some first-aid cream and a Band-Aid® and went on with my day. Of course, as a writer, my day consists of many hours at a computer keyboard.

By Day 3, the cut still bled when touched and the area around it was inflamed and painful. I saturated it with hydrogen peroxide (ouch!), then continued to cover it with first-aid cream and a bandage. Typing became more and more difficult, and I remembered Lisa’s quote.

This continued for another week without improvement. Albert Einstein has been quoted as saying “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I am living proof he was correct.

By Day 10, the skin around the finger tip had turned white from an infection. A friend with a medical background called the area “angry.” Trust me, you don’t want any part of your body angry with you. She strongly recommended I see a doctor. I finally did…two days later. Result: painful injections, cutting, and a prescription for antibiotics. Typing was still difficult for many days after, and Lisa’s quote was somewhat less amusing.

As I pondered my sore finger, I wondered how many times I’ve behaved in a similar way with people. When hurting people share their pain, do I cover the problem with a few Bible verses, slap on a prayer “Band-Aid®” and move on, leaving a festering, infected wound under that bandage?

When writer friends share their frustrations over their latest writing obstacle or a recent rejection, do I slap on some “first aid” sympathy and move on to share my own writing difficulties? Or do I show sincere compassion for their frustrations?

When a member of my Bible study misses several classes due to family issues, am I oblivious to her needs? Or am I quick to notice and provide encouragement?

There’s nothing wrong with sharing Scripture and prayer with hurting people. However let’s not do it in such a way that we become “hit and run” Christians. We can take the time to really listen and be there for others, or we can treat them like today’s “project,” only to shuffle them off tomorrow.

How will you respond the next time someone shares a hurt with you?

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…” (Colossians 3:12 ESV).





© 2010 Martin Alan Grivjack PhotographyMartin Alan Grivjack PhotographyAva Pennington is thoroughly enjoying her second career as an author, teacher, and speaker. Originally from New York City, she relocated after a 20-year corporate career as a Human Resources executive. But don’t call her retired. In addition to writing and speaking, she teaches a Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class of 200+ women from September through May each year.

Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is published by Revell and endorsed by Kay Arthur, founder of Precepts Ministries International. Ava has also written articles for magazines such as Power for LivingCalled, and Christianity Today’s Today’s Christian Woman. She has been published in 25 anthologies, including 18 Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

Ava is grateful for her husband, Russ, their marriage of 35+ years, and their home in south Florida. She is a passionate speaker and teacher, and delights in challenging audiences with relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, visit or contact her at


  1. 2-27-2015

    This was such a good reminder for me today, Ava. I am missing the FCWC due to my dad’s hospitalization and illness. I flew to CA last night and have so many things to do to care for him and get his house in order. Your post reminded me about first things first. I need to listen and love…to take care of the deep wounds. Bless you.

  2. 2-27-2015

    Oh, Penny, missing you here. But I know, with you, that you are exactly where you need to be. Be encouraged, my friend!

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