The scar on my knee is speaking to me today. It tells the story of a joyful day quickly turned horrific through the inattention of a bicyclist. The impact threw me to the pavement, shattering my left kneecap. The effect of that moment is sewn into the traces of stitching skillfully placed during an emergency surgery. As I feel soreness and the resistance of scar tissue, my mind reflects on the journey towards healing through the help of numberless beings.
Scars remind us of trauma and they remind us of healing—the vulnerability of living in a fragile body and the resilience developed through the way in which we cope. I like to think I am more resilient now. But that resilience only came through vulnerability, accepting momentary suffering and receiving the help I needed on the road to recovery. As much as we like to tell a sad stories about our individual misfortunes, our scars suggest a different narrative.
If we allow, the wounds of life open us to others and our scars are remnants of that awareness—little lines pointing beyond a limited sense of self. They are micro-roads upon which we travel with a knowing smile because we have numberless traveling companions. Imagine a suture with infinite length connecting infinite beings. Every hand holding the healer’s needle is the same hand. When we weep, we weep together; when we experience a sigh of relief, it is shared. How is it possible to walk though life believing in a separate ego when we are effortlessly sewn together?
The divisiveness we see in the headlines and hear through the mouths of arrogant and angry people is a result of painfully ignoring our sameness. If we experience our scars as badges of difference, they will ache for no good reason. We will whine and complain. No one will be completely healed. When we line up our scars into one continuous highway, we will remember the compassion to which we were born—through the scars of our mother’s labor.