Our scars tell our stories
The lessons of a life amount not to wisdom but to scar tissue and callus
Wallace Stegner, The Spectator Bird
New York Times writer Dana Jennings wrote a wonderful reflection last year on the scars he now sports following his treatment for prostate cancer. He views them as a road map of his body’s travels. “Our scars tell stories. Sometimes they’re stark tales of life-threatening catastrophes, but more often they’re just footnotes to the ordinary but bloody detours that befall us on the roadways of life.”
It led me to re-examine my own road-map of scars – working my way up from those faintly visible scars from childhood falls, and on up the body to the raised appendix scar on my tummy, until finally I finger the long raised scar from breast surgery. I look at that scar and marvel at the skill of the surgeon as he performed his life-saving work cutting away the cancer from my body. Yes, each scar tells its own story. I love how Jennings describes scars as “primal tattoos, marks of distinction that showed you had been tried and had survived the test.” I haven’t always loved my scars, and society certainly doesn’t encourage us to celebrate them, but I have learned to love them as the signs that show the world, that I have indeed been tested and survived the test.
Of course, it’s not just the scars on our bodies we carry, we also carry scars from old wounds in our hearts and perhaps those invisible scars, the ones we cannot see or touch are the hardest scars of all to heal.
Impressive Marie, as usual. Felt very poignant reading through the post. It resoundingly reminded me of a poem I read in a separate blog, sometime ago.
Kia Franklin wrote the following amazing poem. The poem can be found in http://girlwomansoul.blogspot.com/2010/01/lumps-and-scars.html
“I’ve got lumps and I’ve got scars
and I’ve cried tears
and counted stars
and wished upon them
Seen them shooting across the sky while leaning against my love’s chest
and I’ve plucked flower petals with bated breath
with faith to move mountains, and hope that their outcome would lead to love
I’ve got scars and I’ve got lumps
and I’ve run races
skipped and jumped
suppressing grunts and gasps and grumbles
Holding it all together, watching my faith crumble into smaller-than-mustard seed remmants of innocence
but balancing it all in my hands, cupping it closely like water
I’m Hope’s daughter
and these lumps and scars are warrior-markings…”
What a wonderful poem Somnath – thank you so much for sharing it with us.
Like Somnath, I feel very moved reading this post and then to read the poem Somnath chose..wow – the tears are now flowing..
Thank you for helping me to a better appreciation of my own battle wounds x
Incredibly powerful – thank you, thank you for a terrific post
What a great poem Somnath – really helped me see my own scars in a whole new light!
What an empowering description of scars as”marks of distinction that showed you had been tried and had survived the test.”
I so agree that it is the hidden scars that can cause us most grief and anguish – terrific post Marie
Very powerful blog! Somnath thank you for sharing the poem! Like warriors we do go into battle with an ugly enemy. Our Mind, Body and Spirt combined are the weapons for the war that conquors. Scars are the visable reminder of the victory around the corner.
Thank you Luann…it is so true!
I love that poem Somnath shared with us..and I like the idea of seeing our scars are warrior markings.
Found this a very moving post today Marie
Very beautiful way of looking at this subject
Simply thank you for a wonderful post and a wonderful blog
Exactly!! This is what I’ve been telling ppl. My thinking about my experiences with cancer changed when I learned to look at my scars as badges of honour rather than disfigurement. They’re simply the price I had to pay to have more time here on this planet. Given the choice I’d gladly pay that price again to have more time to enjoy life.
Thanks for such a great comment – I love that term badges of honor!
wow! i recently reflected about how scars from before treatment — both emotional and physical — were revealed by the stripping down that happens from the treatment. they are a very helpful metaphor.
I love your analogy too!
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