"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
slash Function: verb
Etymology: origin unknown
intransitive senses : to lash out, cut, or thrash about with or as if with an edged blade
1 : to cut with or as if with rough sweeping strokes
2 : CANE, LASH
3 : to cut slits in (as a garment) so as to reveal a color beneath
4 : what life does to us as we pass through
My body, decorated by intention and accident.
My navel, with the two scars from a surgery not long past, all healed now, above and below making a strange triad where instruments were sent inside to patch parts of me that were broken.
My leg, with a hardly noticeable scar where they did heart surgery on me. I expect that I will have more of these before all is said and done.
And one more, where a surgery was done when I was only a small child, not healed as cleanly as the rest after over 35 years.
Then I look at other places on my body, first of which is the back of my hand as I type. There, raggedly spanning my first knuckle, is a jagged scar that happened all of a sudden almost a year ago. I was installing a sump pump under my house, and it fell. When I tried to break its fall, it took a piece out of my hand.
Oddly, I hardly bled at all. I just had this place with slashed flesh about a quarter of an inch wide. I kept working, and put a bandage on it later. Now it has healed into a jagged scar almost an inch long, a forever reminder of a minor event.
But the physical scars that really affect me are in my left eye.
When I was in college, my left eye was crushed. I was in a fraternity and we were doing something that involved throwing eggs. I'll tell that story here later, it deserves its own entry, but suffice it to say that one of the eggs hit me square in my left eye.
I reached up, and where my left eye had been, there was only a hole. That experience alone is enough to scar, but there was plenty more to come.
When I finally was examined in the hospital, they determined that the rear of my eyeball had burst. I had a huge blazing tear across my field of vision, right through the middle. It sparkled and glittered all day and all night, keeping me up and never letting me forget that I had been maimed.
That was scar number one.
Shortly after that, the darkness began rising on my vision in that eye. My opthamologist immediately did laser surgery across that area, because my retina was becoming detached. Now I had yet another sparkling line, but it was smooth, not jagged.
That was scar number two.
Three weeks later, the detachment busted through the laser surgery, and I had to have a wonderful surgery called a "scleral buckle. " This surgery, which was developed in the early '60's, was still not widely performed at that time. Without going into a lot of detail, it involved removing my eye, working on it, putting an elastic band around it, then putting it back.
Fortunately, I got to sleep through it. Some things you REALLY don't want to be there for.
That was scar number three on the eye. So, my left eye now has both kinds of scars, accidental and intentional. It will never see the same as my other eye, and will continue to hurt for the rest of my life (note: this is not a typical result of this surgery, just my own.) Each time I look at the world, I see it through this warped lens.
Aside from a rather gruesome tour of my body, what am I getting at with all of this?
Well, our bodies are not the only things that scar, are they? Our souls and our spirits scar too.
Yeah, as soon as you read that you knew just what I was talking about, didn't you? First to mind are always the accidental scars, the ones we never expected and never wanted. The gashes left by relationships that crashed and burned when they were so important to us. The hurt left by being rejected by friends, lovers, family. The hopelessness of failure, when we thought we wouldn't.
My soul and spirit, decorated by accident, riddled with cuts and slashes, big and little.
The worst ones being not necessarily those that are inflicted by others, but the ones we give to ourselves, on purpose.
No one likes you.
You are too fat/skinny/tall/short/light/dark/hairy/bald.
You bother people.
You are an embarrassment.
And on and on. We take a mental hook knife and jerk it into our spirit, and tear out ragged junks of our soul like it was so much insulation on an old house.
And we want to bleed, we really do, because in doing so we might find some strange sort of justice, some sort of redemption. But we just stand there, all gashed, looking at our bare, shredded spirits.
We look at the world through these scars, forever reliving our worst and most destructive moments. Our past births our future.
We become who we think we are.
And that is the tragedy of it all. God has a specific plan for each of us, and we just cling to our warped versions of ourselves and won't let him take control. Because when we do, He comes in as the Master Surgeon and starts trimming away all the parts that are not supposed to be there.
And it hurts.
And it scars.
But that's OK, because those are intentional scars, and when we heal we are truly healed.
My soul, decorated by accident, healed by intention.
A wretched soul, bruised with adversity,
We bid be quiet when we hear it cry;
But were we burdened with like weight of pain,
As much or more we should ourselves complain.
William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)