I spent the day helping a friend go through the belongings of a dear loved one who has passed. It’s tough going. One might think it’s the expensive toys, gadgets, and gizmos which you’d want to hold on to but instead, it’s the little things; sheets of paper, old license plates, CDs, notepads. Items which wouldn’t sell at a yard sale or purchased at Goodwill are of immense value, a treasure to the ones who remain.
Death is often an open wound. Scabs may form, some healing might occur, but grasping at past memories and experiences, strains and pulls apart the wound and the pain, heartbreak of loss returns. Its hard letting go. It’s difficult to say; “goodbye.” but death demands we do it again and again in many ways, on many occasions and you wonder if it will ever be the last time.
Moving on requires that one live open-handed, no clinging to earthly, temporal things, allowing the shared life of the one who is gone to be enough.
A few weeks ago, while working on an outside project, I stepped on a board that didn’t support my weight. My leg went through the wood and left several deep cuts. “Ouch! That’s going to leave a mark!” Beth cleaned and bandaged it and for several following days repeated the treatment and it began to heal.
Last week a long scab had formed on one of the wounds and it began itching. I could tell by looking at the cut it was much better and over the weekend I began to pick at the scab. There’s something about a scab that begs to be messed with and by Monday I had carefully removed it. However, though the scab was gone the remnants of the wound remained. There’s little doubt I will have a long scar on my leg reminding me of the incident.
Life is this way sometimes. By a tragedy or choice, accident or purposefully inflicted we are wounded. Maybe it was our decision or someone else’s but we are hurt deeply. We do our best to take care of the wound. We pray, talk to others, seek counseling and slowly begin to heal.
After a while we notice our hurt and pain, though we still bear the marks, has greatly subsided. Recovery takes us to a place of “new normal” and our scabs eventually become scars.
The troubles and difficulties of our past don’t disappear. They influence who and what we are and will become. The question is; “will our scars bring renewed shame and continued suffering or be signs of our strength and resilience?”