Any life lived carries scars. Some visible, even more invisible. Some large, others small. Carried deep within the crevices of our hearts and souls, the typical response may be to gravitate towards a tendency of hiding. Keeping these far from public view in an effort to pretend that life’s journey is devoid of tragic and painful moments. Keeping them hidden makes the future more obscure and suffocates hope.
For Samuel it has been eight years. Eight years ago to the day, when his world came crashing down. After the accidental explosion of a glass jar of sulfuric acid, suffering second and third degree burns - primarily on his face and arms. Fighting his way back, even when the future looked dim. With the help of family and friends, the assorted pieces of life that had been blown to smithereens began to fall back into place. Countless surgeries and years dedicated to the act of recovery have led to the present. It feels surreal to have made it this far. Unsure of what the future held on September 1, 2009, life has turned out far better than one ever could have imagined. Wounds have healed, scars have slightly faded. Hope burns brighter than ever.
For Kate, it has been twenty three years since she began putting her life back together. An unforeseen turn of events set her on a path toward healing from a burden she did not realize she carried. Burdens that had been packed away and lugged around in obscure ways. Trauma has a way of burrowing deep within the soul yet remain hidden in plain sight.
The seeds of hope had been planted in our lives and cultivated in ways that kept us afloat during the darkened days of sorrow. Grains of hope had been nurtured in ways we did not realize that kept us from disappearing into the fog of confusion, fear and pain. Over time, the importance of what had been cultivated was essential not only to survive but to thrive.
For us, today is and always will be a day of celebration. A day to treasure the sweet moments life affords us, knowing that breath can so easily be stifled and snuffed out. We praise God for the gift of eyesight and healthy organs, knowing that those functions were far from guaranteed in the moments preceding an event that will forever be emblazoned in our memories. Life is meant to be celebrated, cherished, and enjoyed.
It is time for this story to be shared. Why now, you ask? We needed time to heal, to learn how to handle the pain of the past which was like shards of glass, cutting so deeply. We had to find the words that had never existed for us and share this experience with others. To learn a new language of healing and joy in the midst of waves that were crashing over our lives. In the wake of tragedy, sometimes it is best to keep quiet and not allow anyone else into the huddle. Despite the persistent questions and curiosity on the part of so many, we lacked the ability to clearly articulate this impactful experience. More time and distance was needed to process the hurt, and more importantly sift through the lessons learned along the way in order to impart a sense of hope and healing to others.
There are some who prefer that we keep quiet. That the intricacies and complexity surrounding this experience remain unexplored, locked away far from public consumption. Some have already tried to tell this story, re-shaping the narrative to better fit into the worldview they espouse. These re-tellings, often carried out by people possessing good intentions, have managed to dull the true intensity of the experience while leaving out the kernels of hope inherent in ever unfolding drama.
In the past, this sort of resistance helped to quiet our voices. No longer can we let anything silence this story; for, far too much is at stake. There are people suffering all across the world, grappling with the implications of tragedy and pain. Their stories may be more or less traumatic than ours. The severity of trauma is non sequitur. Suffering has a way of binding all of humankind together. There is a sense of community that can emerge from such a human experience as adversity, an establishing of normalcy that is otherwise completely lacking.
We are not great at being human. At letting others see the parts of ourselves that are less than perfect. The wounds, the pain; the hurt, the scars. We hide the less than desirable parts of ourselves, fooling the world into believing that we have traveled through life largely unscathed. Yet the wounds we carry, whether visible or invisible, stick with us regardless of whether we acknowledge them or not. Others have a sense what is being protected no matter how well hidden.
We write from a place of healing and hope, in an effort to step forward and offer you our scars. To let you see the ways in which we healed. The things we did right, and the ways in which our missteps along the journey made the dance of our lives stumble. This story transcends us; it is simply the baseline for the ways in which hope and healing can be achieved.
We invite you to share in our journey, to take a leap by offering your own story to others. This website will be a place where uplifting stories are featured, offering a branch to those who feel like they are drowning. We are here to tell you that you too can overcome. That you can make a comeback from whatever adversity you are currently facing or have faced in the past. Healing can be attained, hope can be cultivated and ultimately win. Even if you spend the rest of your life longing for the restoration of your face. Come along with us and cultivate hope. Everyday.