There is something powerful about scars, these indications of events that have damaged, or at the very least, deeply affected us.

When we share the stories behind the marks on us, it forges an unmistakable connection between the storyteller and listener. In listening, we begin to see that their actions, once misunderstood, come from somewhere. A reaction, before misconstrued is now part of a revealed legacy that lives in their very skin – affecting each movement and word.

When these stories are related, the opportunity is given for intimacy to replace misunderstanding. And it is out of that intimacy that empathy is borne. (Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person.) It is hard to have any sort of empathy toward someone without connection, and for some that connection can come from a look or an moment observed where something deep and true is revealed about another person, but within the bustle of life, those moments usually pass by unnoticed.

In the last two weeks I have been provided this opportunity, this honor of shared scars, by both Mark and Jordon. I am no stranger to blogging, but in trying to write this entry I find myself incessantly backspacing and rewriting -struggling to find words that communicate how thankful I am for their honesty. I fear that my lack of eloquence will somehow diminish the significance and value of their acts of vulnerability. So perhaps, I should put aside my desire for literary excellence and share a small piece of myself.

Lately I have been confronted with my own weakness in this area, guilty many times over of willing self-involvement. I have missed the shadows that pass over friend’s faces at the mention of something that hits a tender spot. My decision to dwell in judgement, hurt, and insecurity leading to animosity have clouded my vision and I have been unable to see past actions to the people behind them.

This idea is one close to my heart and one Jordon spoke at length about. Actions (and lifestyle) do not define people. Jose Saramago wrote, “There is something inside all of us that has no name, and that something is who we are.” Yet, we do want to name things, and though I will not venture to give any names to that mysterious something, I will say what they are not.

It is not prostitute. It is not are not homeless, addict, homosexual or cheater. The names that we give to people – that we arrogantly use to define who they are have no place in love. As we, I say we as someone who has been given to beyond measure, do not deserve all that we have received, those who do not have do not deserve what they have been given either. No one deserves to be alone. No one deserves to be hungry, abused or rejected.

So, with or without the stories behind their scars, I join with Jord and Mark, in hope that with acknowledgment we can begin to move beyond all that inhibits us from empathy towards those around us. To step out in honesty and love with names left behind, to see those around us with some semblance of truth.

– Beth

(Image by Sam Weber)

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