We all have scars, for to live a life it is inevitable. Whether they lay upon your skin for the world to see, or deep underneath where only the devil resides. We have them, they are there and in most cases these scars are hard earned remnants most choose to ignore or forget.
But to me it seems what we do with them ultimately defines us as human beings.
I will show you mine.
I have all kinds of scars to share. Hard earned in the heat of battle, worn like an inner badge of honor. Obtained through circumstance, or byproduct of a life lived teetering towards the edge. Deep painful scars left on my psyche after watching as those you love most cease to exist. Mental scars developed from years of horrific imagery that never heal, growing, straining; leaving behind just enough meat for my eccentric brain to pick. They thrive and live on, never quite healing, instead evolving in darkness.
I will gladly show you my scars because I feel it’s what we as human beings must do. My scars don’t define me, they never will. My scars don’t enrage me, for how can you remain mad at what was? I survived, learned, and grew, therefor my scars electrify me, making me stronger, hopefully wiser, tempered and kind.
To carry my scars both inner and outer, under wraps, stowed away from the world means I have lived a life for me and me alone. I believe we are supposed to live our lives for others. So we as a collective whole may learn and grow. Knowing there are more; that someone is never alone and they need not stare at their scars wondering why? What if there is one person out there who doesn’t see their inner scar(s)? You know them. They only see what’s pouring from the depths of their soul as an incurable leak. Like blood from an open wound. For them there is no ability to heal, to form a much needed inner scar. An ultimate reminder that what they went through was actually needed although it may not seem like it at the moment. To know they will survive, carry on and experience the life of their choosing.
The choices we make in life dictate our outcome.
My aunt and I (as we always do) had a wonderful conversation about life, death, the job I have done for over 20 years and the experiences associated. My Aunt having worked a suicide hotline and of me being a fireman. We talked about loved ones lost, people near death, and the loss of my dear uncle not more than a day ago.
The key being we talked.
She asked me; after everything, with all I have encountered in life.
Had I ever contemplated suicide?
My answer was, has and will always be; No.
Life, no matter how difficult at times is this amazing gift we have been given. It is ours to do with what we choose. I cherish every single second. I know there is a life is over for me ticket floating out there somewhere, waiting to be punched. But not today man, not today.
So every day I make a choice.
I get up in the morning and I look at my scars. Several look like bullet holes across my abdomen, there is a 12 inch one that runs the length of my chest. I have scars on my legs, hands and feet. I have scars around my groin. Each representing a moment when I could have said quite simply; why me? Then given up..
I stare in the mirror at this aging 54 year old body. Once in peak shape ready to climb any hill, cut down a tree, drag some slash, pull some hose and spread water on a rapidly advancing fire.
Now, I get dizzy tying my boots. Sometime I lose my balance and just fall. I can no longer run, no longer climb, no longer carry 50 pounds of gear on my back like it’s nothing more than an extra jacket. Hell I can barley raise my right arm over my head! The absurdity at times is unreal. Medications are taken daily to regulate everything, and to keep bad things from happening to me somewhere, somehow, further down the road!
Quite a different world from simply a few years ago.
I stare, and I stare some more. Then I smile, because I am alive. I cheated death. I get to see another sunrise, another sunset, I live in a country where I can fulfill whatever crazy dream I chase no matter the age or restriction. The only thing to hold me back is me, myself and I.
I stare into my eyes.
I stare at my reflection to see the faces of those I have lost. The inner scars begin to show. My first wife Kim (heart failure), my second wife Jacy (Leukemia), an unborn child, my grandparents, my father, several friends, and now my uncle. I think of them all. I wonder what was, what could have been and what if? I thank them for all they brought into my life for I grew as a person from every experience shared with them all.
The outer scars are reminders, the inner scars are pain.
So what do you do? How do handle these emotions, these reminders, these in your face every fucking day reminders?
As I said; every day you make a choice. Every day you decide how you are going to deal with you and your bullshit.
Today, like every day. I choose life, I choose love, I choose forgiveness, I choose a future, I choose to wake up and see the sunrise, I choose to sit on the porch and watch the sunset. I choose to bring a smile to a friend, as well as to a stranger. I choose to never, ever let my scars hold me down.
Every day, every way.
Wake up, put your feet on the floor, stand up and take one step forward.
Only you can, for no one else can do that much, for you.
Learn to love your scars.
Look at them, look and look some more, then look away and ponder what the the day and life holds in store for you.
I promise you will become stronger.
I promise your fears will subside.
I promise your sadness will deepen before you rise above. But YOU WILL RISE ABOVE!!!
I promise you will tap into the aggressive beast that resides within.
I promise you will ONLY be you.
And that alone is worth the scars….