Not all scars are visible. We perceive those that are visible to be worse than those that are hidden. Those remnants of life lived that are impossible not to see as we walk down the street, make a transaction in the store or see someone on a screen.
The beauty of her voice is as evident as the power to thrive after great adversity. Kechi is one of just 2 survivors of a tragic plane crash in Nigeria in 2005 that claimed the lives of 107 people, many of whom were her classmates. She was sixteen years old at the time; and, after more than a hundred surgeries on her body (where over 65% of it was burned), her spectacular voice is almost overshadowed by the enormity of her courage. Not the courage to stand on a stage in front of the world, but rather the courage it took to get there. The painful road of healing.
Kechi’s scars are very visible. The ones that are not as conspicuous are no less daunting to overcome. When scars are not visible, it is easy to overlook the trauma present, even though it may not be as obvious to a passerby. When we interact with others we don’t always know where they are coming from and what reactions different situations will elicit. As I look back at pictures of my later teenage self - five foot three inch frame, 18 inch waist and 85 pound body - it is clear that pain was not hidden. Only to those who did not want to see. A manifestation of those wounds that could not be traced back to a physical opening. Tell tale signs always exist, although varying in degrees of recognition. Presented in subtle ways that memory finds a way to express - seemingly without the willful consent of the scarred.
One of the many remarkable sights circulating as a result of the recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida were the pictures of fire ant colonies floating on the water. When waters start rising and overtaking ground used by an ant colony, these insects employ an ingenious mode of survival by coming together and floating along until finding something dry to crawl up on. Collectively they possess the ability to ride the waves of rising water. Despite rain and wind the group sticks together. There is no navigation and the colony’s new home will certainly be a random location; however, survival is a high possibility. This picture extends to humanity as well. Finding a safe pack to travel with can mean the difference between surviving and even more importantly thriving.
The founders of our country had the same beginning as a people, coming together in a similar way with the goal of carving out a new identity. Living in a way that they purposed must change, action was taken and they signed to “mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor.” On the basis of that a new nation that has shaped the globe emerged. The power of the collective for greater good was realized.
Whether your scars are visible or invisible, find people with whom you can travel that are as concerned about your survival as their own. Safe people who can listen keenly, share authentically, weep courageously and laugh with complete abandon. Only when we are able to weep about the things we have lived can we gain insight to ourselves. Only then can we successfully provide healing and nurturing to others as they captain their ship through the choppy waters of grief. It took acres of life lived to understand the essentially of the team. To discard what was adding to the heavy load of grief and go shoulder to shoulder with pilgrims seeking the same outcome. I did not need someone to walk a mile in my shoes, just to walk with me. Sometimes understanding was elusive but the persistence to continue the voyage was invaluable. It has been a long road with some amazing people who I would not trade for the world.
We invite you to join us as we trek along the unpredictable seas of healing. Sharing our stories keeps us all afloat on our odyssey of redemption and a new place to land. Subscribe to our blog to keep in touch with ideas that kept us going through the hurricane winds that caused the flood waters to rise. What can be born out of this band seeking healing and sharing? Come aboard, let’s find out.