Scars

About a month ago I fell when I was running.  I’ve done this before, and have written often of my clumsiness.  This was a real fall, though, and I caught myself with my right hand.  I scraped off a lot of skin on my palm; the entire heel of it was hanging off in a flap.  I also scraped my hip (ripped my tights) and my elbow.  After contemplating for a moment whether to finish my run (really! how insane am I?) I walked home.  By the time I got home my shirt was covered in blood where I’d been cradling my hand.  My family was still sleeping so I washed it off myself, gritted my teeth, and went about my day.  With some extra-large band-aids, lots of neosporin, and about a month, I am almost all healed up now.

Looking at my palm, with its quarter-sized circle of new, pink flesh, I am reminded, again, of the resilience of the human body.  And of the parallel resilience of our spirit.  As I move into the middle of my life, with its unexpected challenges and astonishing joys, I am aware in a new way that the years are making their mark on my body.  I know this is true for all of us, though the marks are from different reasons: accidents, childbearing, illness.   Life leaves its mark.  And, of course, it makes invisible but indelible marks on our spirits.

Some of these wounds heal relatively simply, into clean scars, like my hand.  Others, much less so.  I have specific injuries, both physical and emotional, that I am still tending to, and whose healing is slower, more complicated.  But I keep pushing on my palm, feeling the slight twinge of sensitivity, remembering the sharp pain that was so recently there, trying to remind myself that we do heal.  The process may be slow, the scar jagged and imperfect, but we heal.

… see how the flesh grows back across a wound, with great vehemence, more strong than the simple, untested surface before.  There’s a name for it on horses, when it comes back darker and raised: proud flesh, as all flesh is proud of its wounds, wears them as honors given out after battle, small triumphs pinned to the chest. – Jane Hirshfield

The world breaks everyone, and afterwards many are strong at the broken places. – Ernest Hemingway

You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp. – Anne Lamott

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13 Comments

  1. Posted October 19, 2011 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    Beautiful. And so wise.

  2. Posted October 19, 2011 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    I adore you. xo

  3. Haile
    Posted October 19, 2011 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Would you believe that Hemingway quote graces my Senior year high school yearbook page? We got to design our own. The other 2 that my 17 year old self picked were from Kurt Vonnegut “So it goes…” and The Grateful Dead “Sometimes the lights are shining on me other times I can barely see”… ! I had to go look once I saw the Hemingway quote above. One of my all time favorites.

  4. Amy
    Posted October 19, 2011 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    This Anne Lamott quote is beautiful. Adding to my quote book (which is starting to overflow as I write down nearly all of the ones you share). Loved teh Megan Rourke quote on your twitter feed last night.

  5. Renae C
    Posted October 19, 2011 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    “God will not look you over for medals degrees or diplomas, but for scars”

    Elbert Hubbard

  6. Posted October 19, 2011 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    I do that too: I press on a bruise or a healing wound to feel that moment of sensitivity, of pain that I can stop as easily as I’ve started it. Thanks for helping me understand why I might do that. xo

  7. Posted October 19, 2011 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    That Anne Lamott passage is one of my all-time favorites. Hadn’t seen the Hemingway or the Hirshfield before–you always pull the very best quotes! I’ve been feeling raw lately–thank you for this reminder today that the wounds taking longest to heal often develop the strongest scars.

  8. Sarah
    Posted October 19, 2011 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    There’s a rawness in feeling from past and present hurts. While healing will come, the journey can seem long.
    Love the Alexi Murdoch!
    May the light of God’s grace shine on you today, Lindsey. Thanks for this sharing this entry.

  9. Posted October 19, 2011 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Beautiful. I love the quotes. So wise and true. Thank you for reminding me of the strength in our scars today.

  10. Posted October 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    i was just thinking about this on my hike this morning – feeling immensely grateful for my body, for my ability to heal both physically and emotionally, for the journey and the learning and the scars that remind me how much I’ve experienced and how far I’ve come. Once again, you’ve read my mind and heart and articulated it all so eloquently. Thank you. 🙂

  11. Posted October 19, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Maybe our limping IS our post-modern dancing. Love and healing wishes for all our beautifully limping woundedness.

  12. Posted October 20, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Wow doesn’t that just put a finger right on it.”…but you learn to dance with the limp.” – Anne Lamott

    Sorry for your poor hand.

  13. Posted October 22, 2011 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    God, I needed to re-read that last quote today. Having that “still hurts when the weather gets cold” thing lately and was making myself wrong for it.

    Thanks, Lindsey.