Sometimes things break. Today I talk about recovering from the things that leave us fractured.
*The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran (buy here)
"There is something beautiful about all scars of whatever nature. A scar means the hurt is over, the wound is closed and healed, done with." - American Novelist and short story writer, Harry Crews
"Nearly everybody I knew had something missing, a finger cut off, a toe split, an ear half-chewed away, an eye clouded with blindness from a glancing fence staple. And if they didn't have something missing, they were carrying scars from barbed wire, or knives, or fishhooks." - Harry Crews
"Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars." -Kahlil Gibran
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The American Novelist and short story writer, Harry Crews wrote,
"There is something beautiful about all scars of whatever nature. A scar means the hurt is over, the wound is closed and healed, done with."
Welcome to the Soul Podcast. I’m Stacey Wheeler.
Harry Crews knew a lot about scars. Born during The Great Depression, Crews was the son of tenant farmers in Georgia. At the age of five he contracted Polio and spent several years recovering the use of his legs. Later, as a young boy he received burns on most of his body in an accident. This led to even more time spent healing. He wore the scars of the accident for the rest of his life. Crews experienced and witnessed much suffering in his life.
In his book, A Childhood: The Biography of a Place, Crews wrote: "Nearly everybody I knew had something missing, a finger cut off, a toe split, an ear half-chewed away, an eye clouded with blindness from a glancing fence staple. And if they didn't have something missing, they were carrying scars from barbed wire, or knives, or fishhooks."
And, as he says in the opening quote:
“…A scar means the hurt is over, the wound is closed and healed, done with."
Today I want to talk about healing.
There’s a Buddhist Japanese tradition called kintsugi or golden joinery.
It is the art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage using precious metals: gold, silver or platinum, things like that.
Where before we might have gathered all the broken pieces and discarded them as useless…. Instead we gather those pieces and join them together to be complete, useful and unique. This philosophy treats breakage and repair as part of the object's history to be honored and remembered.
We are left with something one of a kind and beautiful.
These repairs stand out because the cracks are filled with shiny metal, leaving an intricate web.
So, instead of tossing away and rejecting the damaged object, it's saved and it's made precious.
I love this concept and how this philosophy relates to humankind.
We've all been through things that left us broken or damaged.
At times, we all feel we've been shattered into countless pieces. And we wonder if we’ll ever be the same again. And we never will. And that’s alright. We’re not supposed to evolve to be the same.
Our live experiences -our injuries -our damage… leaves us altered from the way we were. Not worse. Different!
It’s easy to confuse curing with healing. Some things can’t be cured, but everyone can heal. It’s the difference between focusing on the external, versus the internal. Healing happens inside. The scars may remain from the pieces put back together, but what is left can be much improved. In this transformation, spiritual growth is achieved.
The writer Kahlil Gibran wrote,
"Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars."
I agree. Witness the greatest among us. What you see is the end result of a human journey. If you look into the past, you’ll find the adversities, hurdles and anguishes that were overcome and healed from in order to become stronger.
Harry Crews published 16 novels and had dozens of other published works. His writing style, which leans heavily on his painful childhood experiences, helped launch the “Grit Lit” writing genre, which depicts life in typically blue collar, working class or small-town settings. His personal golden joinery led him to become one of the most unique literary voices of his generation.
Consider it. Hasn’t your experience shown that when you meet someone who is deep, interesting, introspective, beautiful… more often than not, that person's been through something shattering and has done the work to put themselves back together?
They're unique and they're different in ways that are beautiful.
We all have moments where circumstance shatters us. And we’re left with the predicament of how to move forward. It’s the moment where we must accept the damage, pick up those pieces and then put them back together.
It's the only way we can move forward with hope of spiritual growth. When we join the pieces, we become something better. More beautiful. More powerful and unique.
Are you going through something? Do you feel like you're in dozens of pieces? It's okay. You’re going to be alright. Be patient with yourself.
And know that you're going to be all right.
Greive the loss.
And keep putting the pieces back together.
It will take patience and it will take time. And it'll all be worth it.
Practice kintsugi on yourself.
Put the pieces back together. You’ll emerge as something uniquely beautiful.
Talk to you soon.