I’ve been thinking about scars this week. Two years ago on April 1, in the height of the pandemic I had hip replacement surgery. I woke up with 50 staples holding the two sides of my hip together.
At first, nobody knew about my surgery, except for my “bubble”. It was the perfect time to be out of commission during lockdown, as there was nothing to do, no one to see, and nowhere to go.
Today, the staples are gone, the skin has bonded, and only a scar remains as a reminder.
Like many of the other scars I have, both on the outside and the inside, it was easy to hide. No one had to know about it, and by the time the world opened up again, the wound had healed, and my leg was functional.
This got me thinking that many of us often hide or camouflage our scars from the world. It is the easier thing to do. No questions asked, no explaining, it’s like it never happened.
But it did.
Our scars embody our stories. Our scars are not optional, but the shame is.
My scars of growing up in a dysfunctional home will always be there. My scars of abuse and abandonment remain. And my scars of witnessing a conflictual marriage between my parents, their eventual divorce, and my father’s infidelity still marks me.
What I’ve come to know is that we can only truly know and be known by showing our scars. We feel deeply connected to one another when we share our ugly wounds and lumpy parts. We feel less alone when our story of brokenness matches another’s tale of hurt and loss. We share a common humanity. This is life.
It never ceases to amaze me how much we have in common as people, how we carry our scars in our adult relationships, and how we all long for the same things… love, belonging, understanding, and safety.