My Big Fat Irish Black Toenail

Half Marathons are great fun. You pay the organisers £27 for the privilege of running for nearly two hours whereupon you end up a big, aching, sweaty mess. At the end you queue ten minutes with hundreds of other aching, sweaty messes for a banana, chocolate bar and bottle of orange juice. I’m off chocolate at the minute so I took that home for Fionnuala. You also get an (admittedly) pretty cool medal and T-Shirt. That fits like a Small even though I ordered a Large.

I woke up the following morning to discover that I had obtained another race memento. A black toenail. The big toe on my left foot to be precise. Don’t worry. I’m not going to post a photo of said toe as I fear that would be a bridge too far for many of you. Suffice to say it’s not a pretty sight. Just one of the many perks of being a decidedly average distance runner. Along with blisters, stress fractures and plantar fasciitis. Don’t know what the last one is? Google it. Or look it up in the dictionary under ‘Agony’.

It’s not painful but strangely fascinating in a hypnotic kind of way. It has a mesmeric quality that enthrals and repulses in equal measure. I reckon I could have snagged a role as an extra in ‘The Greatest Showman’ along with Wolverine, Troy Bolton and that lady with the beard. Apart from the fact that I can’t sing. Or act. Trifling details I know but anyway. Had I sustained this injury around Halloween I reckon I would have been a massive hit with the local trick and treating community. Yup, I would have been pulling them in from miles around. Roll up! Roll up! See the man with the blackest toenail in Ireland. Vomit inducing guaranteed or your money back.

Bruises are par for the course when it comes to running, or any physical activity. We pick them up as we traipse through life and wear them like an external purple badge of honour before they go that horrible yellowy-green colour and then fade away. Some are bigger than others, some last longer than others but even the most gruesome one should eventually disappear. They are a temporary phenomenon and if we are just patient enough the body will do what it does best – heal itself.

It’s a shame the same can’t be said for bruised hearts and souls. We accumulate them just as easily as we travel through life. They aren’t as visible though and we hide them away rather than admit we are hurting and in need of help. We hope they will fade away in time and some do. But others are so deep that we carry them around for life, damaged and broken, unable to cope with what has happened and unwilling to reach out for aid. These invisible bruises are uglier than any busted toenail and the ripples of repercussion emanating from them can echo through lives and generations.

Every day I read about fellow bloggers who are nursing these invisible bruises. WordPress is the one safe place where they can reveal their wounds to the world. Many choose anonymity as they are still too raw and painful to publicise. We are all damaged goods. Damaged by others. Damaged by ourselves. Damaged by the random awfulness of life. Addiction, Depression, Anxiety, Physical Disability and Illness, Bereavement, the list is endless. Suicidal thoughts and images of self harm. They haunt my timeline and scar my thoughts. They impact me deeply.

Fionnuala and I want to remind you that you are not alone. We started this blog in order to reach out and help others. We are all broken but we are not beyond repair. Healing is possible. If you feel the need the talk then please do – we have a private e-mail which you can access via the ‘contact’ or ‘prayer request’ tabs on the blog site. Please use it. Some of my posts have been quite negative of late. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I want you to see my bruises as I know no other way to write. So I rant and I rave but it’s only because I care.

I’m going to post a poem later *collective groan* titled ‘Bruises’ but until then know that you are not alone. Not as long as this blog exists.

13 thoughts on “My Big Fat Irish Black Toenail

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  1. After a swim at the ocean I found out that salty water clean the black toenails. If you live far from the ocean like I do, fill a bucket with water and add salt. I used warm water and that salty solution to massage my foot, BTW, besides cleaning the toenails was a very relaxing time, I enjoyed it a lot, might cure some of your bruises, the invisible ones…
    Have a wonderful week!

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  2. Oww to the black toenail! Is that a sign your trainers were too tight or is it just one of those things you crazy runners get for the pleasure of your hobby? 😄 You are right about the bruises, I struggle with many things but one that never seems to heal is the poor relationship with my mother. Long story that started when I was 16 but hey I’m 33 now and im starting to think we won’t ever have the relationship I want T to have with me. Doesn’t mean I want it any less, It’s just one of those things that won’t go away that’s all.

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    1. I was sorry to read of this. We also are experiencing difficulties at present in that area. If nothing else you will ensure you never make the same mistakes with your daughter when she is an adult. Toe is much better today if still pretty gross looking 😂

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  3. Just as bruised bodies eventually heal, and no longer require nursing, we can stop nursing our bruised hearts and souls if we give them to Jesus. The Savior suffered not only for sin, but he suffered our pains, so he knows how to comfort us in this life; and in the life to come, we are told by Isaiah (25:8) and twice in Revelation (7:17, 21:4) that God promises he will personally wipe away all tears – what a wonderful experience that will be! The Lord voluntarily comes to those against whom sins have been committed, just as he saves the repentant who come unto him (Psalm 34:18). Thank you for your offer to express Christ’s comfort through your blog.

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