Scars and Wounds and Now

How can you tell if something is a scar or an open wound?

I mean, on the body it can be easier to make that assessment. Right now my left side is stitched up from some minor surgery last week. We took the bandage off last night for the first time. Looks normal, stitching in tact, all that jazz.

It will be a scar in a few weeks, a scar that will remind me to wear sunscreen with greater diligence. No need to flirt with skin cancer any longer; I’ve been to that dance and, it appears, have been able to exit without needing my ticket punched.

But this morning I’ve been reflecting on scars and wounds, bodily and otherwise. I’m reflecting on it because I’m in the final stages of getting my certification as a professional coach with an emphasis on walking with people through grief, through the aftermath of a death of some sort (relative, job, dream, etc), and active dying. And this lingering pandemic, festering, as it is, has made this certification all quite timely.

When it comes to emotional and spiritual trauma, I think one way you can tell if it’s a scar or a wound is by having pressure applied to it and waiting for the “ouch.”

I’ve seen, and experienced personally, wounds of loneliness call forth an “ouch” in these days.

I’ve seen, and experienced personally, wounds of partisanship call forth an “ouch” in these days.

Wounds around fatigue. Balance. Job insecurity. Fear of the unknown, both rational and irrational. Worry around safety of family members and loved ones. Relationship strains and troubles.

Lots of ouches.

The first step to turning a wound into a scar is tending to it. See, that’s the hard part, right? We’re never quite sure where a wound is sometimes, because we really haven’t looked at it closely in a while. We just assume it’s healed, or healing, or…

Have you looked in a bit? Where is the ouch for you?

Poet Nayyirah Waheed is all about tending to the wounds of life. “Rub honey on it,” she often writes in her short, but shocking, lines.

Rub honey on it.

Tending to our wounds is more than just looking at them. This past weekend I looked at an errant Nerf dart laying in our hallway a number of times, thinking at each pass, “Someone should pick that up…” until yesterday that someone became me (and it should have always been me, right?).

We look at things all the time without doing anything about them.

We look at wounds all the time without rubbing any honey on it.

It stings to do that work, by the way. Healing often hurts a bit.

But it has to happen for a scar to form.

Scars say “I’ve been there,” which, for a world of wounded people, is a wonderful gift and sign of grace. Open festering wounds, of which there are many, don’t usually allow someone to help another person with the same wound, heal.

But a scar?

Well, in this pandemic, in these days, I’m trying to look at the wounds I have, and rub some honey on them.

So, be honest, don’t let this crisis go to waste: where is the ouch?

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