Joe Bunting wrote a blog post about scars. He quoted Stephen King: “The only requirement to be a writer, is the ability to remember every scar.”
And while that may be good for writers, it’s not always healthy for the rest of humans.
The fact is, God put in us an amazing ability to forget and to cope with pain. Physiologically, when pain becomes too intense, we go into shock as a means of coping.
Psychologically, when the pain is too great, we have a mechanism that psychologists call “disassociating.” We take the incident and put it in a hermetically sealed place somewhere beyond the reach of our conscious mind.
My daughter Estie told me about some of the horrible things she witnesses as a nurse – children whose parents have prostituted them, for example.
The pain and the scarring is so intense, the subconscious locks it away. But the scary thing is, if you take those pieces of yourself and lock them away, it can lead to psychosis. Your survival mechanism may invite schizophrenia.
The paradox is that to heal, we need to remember. But dwell too much on the pain and you’ll never heal. We need both remembering and forgetting. And most especially, we need to cherish our scars.
One of Joe’s readers, a lady identifying herself as MLA, shared her own horrific scar in a comment, “When people ask me if I have any children I smile and say no. But in my heart I know differently. I know I have a little girl that I aborted 18 years ago. I often wonder what she would look like as she grew up. How would my life have changed if I made a different choice? Where would I be today?”
MLA may have been tempted to forget the scar that is her daughter, to hide that memory away, far from reach. But that wouldn’t have been the best thing.
Instead, MLA chose to cherish her scar, to embrace and grieve the part of her she lost. “It’s easy to look back and regret, and stay there,” she says, “but I don’t regret who I have become. I know that decision wasn’t the end of my story, but the beginning. We still get to chose to heal, to find freedom.”
What scars in your life have you hidden? Do you need to cherish a scar so that you can move on?