Thursday, June 22, 2006

Tender


Tender

Time will heal, that’s what they say.
And yet the scar remains to this very day,
a thin white line and still tender to the touch.

It was no help to have an allergic reaction
to the Mercurochrome so that my skin scabbed over
and I had to do my presentation in class
with crustiness exposed because the bandage
would not allow air to reach the wound
so it could heal.

I was in the third grade
when I survived the head-on collision
with one of my classmates. The scar remains
to this very day, underneath my chin,
a thin white line and still tender to the touch.
Time will heal, that’s what they say.
But didn’t Jacob walk with a limp after wrestling with the angel?

Do not say to the crying mother:
Time will heal.

Do not say to the neglected child:
Time will heal.

Do not say it at all:
Time will heal.

Time will not heal. Time surges forward.
It may wash away much of the detritus,
but always there will remain
a thin white line, still tender to the touch.




Thankfully, I have never had anyone offer me this useless piece of rhetoric. I overheard this a couple of weeks ago, spoken by a grandfather in reference to his grandsons who had been put into his custody after being removed from a home with an abusive step parent and parent. I knw he meant well, it just makes me think, that's all.

I believe time will make it easier, but there will always be the tender places. I liken it to grief. My brother has been dead for eleven years and I am used to it now. This week I met another person who has his name, and is about the age he was when he died. And the grief comes whispering back to me. It is not as intense as it was, and it does not linger as long as it used to, but it is still there and a part of me.

So many times, when we see someone who is hurting, we want to do what we can to help them, we want to take their pain away. Often, the most healing thing we can do for them is to listen quietly.

(There is another silly short poem in the comments to the post before this one if anyone is interested.)

8 comments:

  1. No, they don't seem to go away, they fade sometimes, and maybe become invisible to those who look at us, from the outside. But we know they are always there. And maybe like you, who from time to time, run your finger along that thin scar, as a reminder. I think they sometimes remind us we have lived. Yeah, and I don't like that time will heal thing either.
    Horse doodles!

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  2. My own "frog poetry" goes as follows: "They say that if you kiss a frog it turns into a prince; but the one I kissed just croaked and died; and I ain't kissed any since!"...Just left "Uncorked" on my side bar, who wrote of fertilized fields producing growth. My own analogy, in her comments, had to do with mudpuddles, but whether you consider the world filled with mud or manure, the answer is the same: the difference is whether God is with you in the journey. To "wash your feet". To "prevent disease". To just "be there" as you go through time...Annie Dillard is a great naturalist and writer who digests with great clarity the world around us, questioning the God Who created it, without somehow losing faith. I love the read; but she's not for everyone....

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  3. I am COVERED in scars, especially my knees. You are right, time doesn't heal, it only distances.

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  4. I think we have to have the scars as reminders, if not for us, for others. The multiple scars on my left thumb say, "Remain very attentive when working with power tools." The scar on my neck says, "I was once very sick and my parents thought I was going to die, but I didn't." Jesus's scars said to his disciples, "Yes, it is really me. You can trust what I told you." I guess the question for us is, what do I learn from my scars?

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  5. "time will heal" goes in the box with "you'll get over it".

    I like how YOU put it. "...I'm used to it now." ... you get used to things like that after time, but you do not get over it.

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  6. So, it seems scars are evidence of life lived. None of us gets through life without them.

    And we learn from them.

    Sometimes the lesson we need to learn is to quit picking at the wounds and let them heal over.

    Maybe I should start a list of "slogans" that no longer work for me...
    time will heal, you'll get over it,
    bloom where you are planted, etc.

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