I have been thinking about the difference between scars and wounds.
A scar is a visible reminder that you were once wounded but now you've healed. You have scar tissue - skin that is tougher than parts of your body where you've never been hurt. However, scar tissue has drawbacks - things will never be the same as if the hurt had never happened. Yes, you are tougher, and yes, you've learned things to avoid the hurt. But now you are not tender anymore, your innocence on what causes pain is gone.
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A wound is something that is not healed yet. You have to nurse your wound, treat it with tender loving care, cover it and protect it. Because if something were to touch that wound ... well, you might go all kinds of crazy to defend that wound.
Obviously, I'm not just talking about physical scars and wounds but also emotional ones.
Sometimes our scars and wounds are caused by something we ourselves have done. I'll never forget the day I was chauffeuring our oldest daughter to a girls' softball game. She had always been curious about the cigarette lighter in the car and that day, on a whim, decided to stick her finger in the lighter before I could stop her. When she howled in pain, I looked at her incredulously and asked her why she did such a thing. "I just always wondered what would happen if I did," she cried. So she had to somehow wear her ball-glove over her throbbing finger and still play because her little team needed every player or would have to default.
In the same way, some of our decisions cause us pain. We should have known better but we did it anyway. No one to blame but ourselves.
What hurts worse, though, is when others have wounded us. Hurts from way back, even childhood, can still be inside us though we might look perfectly fine on the outside.
I carry a couple scars from things said to me in childhood such as the neighbor who told me my neck was too short or the coach who told me I ran like an elephant. (I wrote about those things here.) I call them scars because the sting of hurt has subsided but they are still there. I haven't forgotten them, but I've toughened up and will sometimes make fun of myself about my neck or my running abilities. I mostly try my best to avoid showing these scars by trying to draw focus away from my short neck and never running where people could see.
I'd rather be scarred, though, than nurse an open wound. Open wounds stink. When you are holding a grudge against someone who has hurt you, you become bitter. It shows in your attitude. You become a crabby Patty, or even worse, rush to hurt someone before they might hurt you.
The best way to turn an emotional wound into a scar? Forgive. Forgiveness is more for you than the other person. It turns the bitter churning thoughts off and softens your heart. Because the truth is, we all need forgiveness. We've all messed up. You sow what you reap, so if you sow forgiveness, you can be forgiven.
And then, proudly display that scar. You earned it.
This post was written in response to Writer's Workshop prompt # 4. Write a blog post inspired by the word: Scarred. I've been scarred, you've been scarred. Why not show each other our scars? Leave a comment and share.
If you'd like to link up one of your posts, visit Kat Bouska's blog at Mama's Losin' It.