Sunday, October 17, 2010

Spiritual Sunday - Part I

I was walking to my car last Wednesday morning and for some reason had my head down the entire time  I wasn't in the mood for smiles, or greetings from a passerby - I was feeling quiet, introspective and wanted to stay in my shell a little bit longer

As I walked along, I noticed the sidewalk had  a cool pattern in it that I have never noticed before (even though I walk this stretch of sidewalk on a weekly basis).  I slowed  to look at the pattern a little closer.

Upon further inspection, I discovered the "pattern" was actually not an intended thing at all  Rather it was the marks of leaves that had fallen in the concrete when it was still wet.  As you know, if you touch wet concrete, it will leave an impression that cannot be removed without demolishing that particular section, and repouring fresh cement.

At first glance, the sidewalk was intriguing and cool to look at.  It certainly caught my eye.
Then I thought about the worker who may have poured that section of sidewalk and his frustration of the falling leaves making the permanent "scar" in his work.  What was aesthetically pleasing to me, would likely indicate imperfection to him.

For some reason, the irony struck me.  I picked up my pace, went to my car to deposit my bags, and returned to the sidewalk with my camera.
(I was really wishing I had a super great camera so I could catch the detail)

I got in my car and headed south but the concrete with it's impressions stayed on my mind.

I began thinking of how that concrete is so much like people.  The 'scars' or the 'damage' the leaves had done to the finished product were what made it so appealing to me  It's what made it unique, beautiful and eye-catching.

I thought of the scars that I carry, and that others whom I love carry.  We all have them. 
 A traumatic childhood, abuse (sexual, emotional, physical), death, bullying, mental illness, suicide, drugs/alcoholism, infidelity, rebellious children, health issues, eating disorders, cancer, the list is endless.
Some of these I know first hand, some I experience second person through a beloved family member or close friend.  At any rate, they hurt.  They change us.  They leave a mark.

There are two ways of looking at those marks left behind.  They can be viewed as imperfection and can lead to self-doubt, low self esteem and feelings of frustration and anger OR they can be viewed as part of the pattern of our life that makes us appealing, unique and even beautiful. 
If we allow them to.

When I look at others, I see cool patterns.  I see things that intrigue me.  Things that catch my eye and draw me to that person.  Oftentimes, once I get to know someone and learn their stories, the 'scars' emerge. 
The impressions of life that left marks become apparent.  And I find that their perceived 'damage' is the very thing that endears them to me.   I love them all the more for the life impressions they have and who they have become. When I see them, I see a beautiful pattern  Not a sidewalk with leaf marks.

Today, I sat in church watching a particular family who is having a particularly hard struggle right now.  My heart physically hurt for them.  A real pain that is hard to describe.
My thoughts went to another dear, longtime friend who is currently overwhelmed with indescribable heartache.
And then I thought back to the concrete. 
These life impressions will only make them more beautiful to me.  More unique and more beloved.

Finally, my thoughts went inward. 
Could I ever do the same for myself?  Embrace my 'scars', endear my life impressions?
Become more beloved to my own self?

I'm not sure, but I can try and hope.
This I do know - I feel a little more tender, and little more forgiving, a little more understanding of every person I encounter.  I just never know what scars they carry.


Cherie said...

Beautiful analogy! I think for me my own scars are the hardest. I love and admire others with all of their battle scars and imperfections but for myself I try and erase some of those things that have made me who I am. I have been slowly learning that I am a better person if I leave them alone.
Very thought provoking :-D

veronica said...

You are so right. We hide our "imperfections" from others because we judge ourselves so harshly.
I love this post.

LKP said...

too easily we can see how the scars build others' character, yet neglect to allow ourselves the same courtesy. this is a great error on our parts. i'm a habitual picker of the imperfections in myself.

not to be gross, but i physically have a scar on my left shin. in 15 years, it has never healed 100% smooth. every so often i'll get irritated with the texture and imperfection so i'll fiddle with it and it'll start to itch.

i know i should always leave it alone, but there are times when the itch is too great and i mess with it. turns out, letting it be rather than trying to will it away or force it away is always better. sure it's an imperfection, but rather that than an open wound still.

love yer guts, 'til the end!

dbs said...

I feel the same way.

Jewls said...

What a great post M-Cat!

Just SO said...

This is some seriously fabulous insight. Thank you so much for sharing it here. Most of the time it is SO much harder to embrace ourselves and all of our scars than it is to embrace others and theirs. But it is so important to do both.

Ann Marie said...

What a beautiful and heart felt post! I feel the same way many times.. and my thoughts are much like Cherie... I am the worse with myself....

Thanks for the spiritual insight this monday morning! XO

Garden of Egan said...

That was quite the introspection there M.
Very beautifully put.
Another reason I love you.

carma said...

this post is quite poignant - and I have no doubt childhood scars are behind much of my self-doubt, low self esteem and feelings of frustration and especially anger. I'm going to re-read the last part of that paragraph and begin to try to live it!!

Sue said...

love this!!!

I have been feeling the same way lately.

great reminder

Missy said...

This is an awesome post! LOVE!

Lara said...

This is seriously so beautiful and moreover, it is so true! Thank you.

tammy said...

I love your insight and analogies when you get all Spiritual. And when you said "I find that their perceived 'damage' is the very thing that endears them to me. I love them all the more for the life impressions they have and who they have become." - I am like that too. And I am trying to learn to embrace my 'scars', or at least forgive myself for them. It's hard.


Amazing! It's also sometimes the sad and hard roads our frinds have traveled before that allow them to accept us with all our scars. I for one am grateful.
Beautiful analogy

Heather said...

Beautiful post! I have some scares of my own. Some I wish I could change but others I would never change. They have made me who I am today!

tiburon said...

Like I wasn't weepy enough - then I go and read this.

Well written and excellent thoughts my friend.

I heart all of your scars. Every single one :)