Like you, I have my share of scars. I’ve been fortunate enough in all my adventures to still have all ten fingers and toes, so I’m doing okay. I’m going to pick my left leg out as an example and focus only on the area below my knee and above the ankle. I have 4 very visible scars and three of them have happened while geocaching.
The oldest I received in an injury about 50 years ago and it is about 2 inches long and looks like a knife wound. I haven’t recalled what caused it in so long, that the memory is lost. The most recent happened this past year when I was stung by a ground hornet in Pedernales Falls State Park. It happened on October 24th and appears now as a dime-size brown spot. I imagine it will remain that way, just like the spider bite above it.
I got that one 3 years ago, also while geocaching. The hornet sting is a ditto of it. Right at the top of my calf is a 3 inch long slice scar I got while geocaching in palmetto plants over close to Beaumont. Did you know that stuff will slice you like a hot knife in warm butter? It will.
None of these have left a mental scar on me though and that’s a good thing. The dang hornet is one I don’t want to repeat, but I haven’t lost any sleep over it. My friend Larry Houston is fond of repeating my quote about wearing shorts when in the woods, “If the British can conquer the whole world in shorts, I can go geocaching in them.” He is a long pant advocate when stomping through grass that is often over our heads..
“Well, it’s danged hot here on the Gulf Coast of Texas” I am fond of retorting, but I imagine my legs look more beat-up than his. Now mind you, only an MMA fighter, spelunker, BASE jumper, or bank robber goes into their activity wondering what it is going to feel like if everything goes wrong. I don’t. I prepare the best I can for my activity and eliminate as many potentially dangerous obstacles in advance.
Then I begin my adventure. Make a note here I am talking about driving on Garth Road at noon. Not really, but every one of us that gets behind the wheel of a car needs to remember it might be our last normal day on earth. As a side note, nearly every day I watch someone run through a red light to save one meaningless minute of travel time.
Your scars and mine define who we are and where we’ve been. They are a roadmap of our adventures, albeit painful ones. I have one between my eyes by my nose where I ran headlong into an aquarium in the dark when I was in Junior High. It opened me up like a machete on a can of Spam. I looked like Dr. Frankenstein’s monster. Man, I still remember the impact. I don’t think a ball bat to the head would hurt any more than that did.
These physical scars prepare us for the worst kind of injuries life will bring – the emotional kind. As bad as the physical wounds are, they often pale to what life drops on our noggin. Just like the hornet and spider injuries, we must pick ourselves up and go on. No one can do it for us. Only time can heal both types of injuries, but rest assured, the scars will remain.
This week I had a dear lady drop off a couple of computers for me to repair and in the course of chatting, she revealed she had lost her boyfriend 2 months ago and in a moment of sympathy, I blurted, “Why, you are still wounded.” Both of us began to cry, as I too have experienced loss. The hurt is deep, real deep. She apologized and I then told her my own story.
What I told her is the deepest truth. Although I had suffered loss, it was not the same as hers and I couldn’t rightly tell her I know what she is going through. No one can at a time like this. I did however tell her that as time passed, it would get better, but only if she worked at it. “No one can pull you out of loss and depression but you.” Mind you I am not saying God won’t be there for you, because he will if you lean on him. I am talking about friends and family. Try as they might, only you can pull you back to happiness.
She said “I think about him every minute of every day.” I told her one day she will be shocked to realize 30 minutes has passed. “How long does this take?”
I told her it was up to her, but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t take a year or two, or three. You see, the scar is there for life, but we can learn to bear it and continue on. Our scars are what define us and if we do not break, they make us stronger.