Your beautiful scars..!

WHY did you just shudder?” I ask the young mother. “Because, you just asked me about my dead father, and I remembered how strict he was!” We all have scars in our life, don’t we? There’s this wonderful story about a scarred and stately elm tree. The tree was planted in the first half of the 20th Century on a farm and grew to be magnificent. Its trunk measures about 12 feet in circumference and a vivid scar encircles tree.
In the 1950s the family that owned the farm kept a bull chained to the elm. The bull paced round and round the tree. The heavy iron chain scraped a trench in the bark about three feet off the ground.
The trench deepened over the years threatening to kill the tree, but though damaged severely, the tree strangely did not die. After some years the family sold the farm and took their bull. They cut the chain, leaving the loop embedded in the trunk and one link hanging down. The elm continued to grow and bark slowly covered parts of the rusting chain that strangled it. The deep gash around the trunk became an ugly scar. Then one year an agricultural catastrophe struck the area and most elm trees died. But this one noble elm remained untouched.
Amazingly, it had survived two hardships. It was not killed by the bull’s chain years earlier, and this time it out-lasted the deadly fungus. Plant pathologists came to study the tree. They looked closely at the chain necklace buried deep in the scar. These experts reported that the chain itself actually saved the elm’s life, that the tree absorbed so much iron from the chain left to rust around its trunk that it became immune to the fungus.
What certainly could have killed the tree actually made it stronger and more resilient! As Ernest Hemingway said, “The world breaks everyone and afterwards many are strong at the broken places.” The same chain that severely wounded the tree saved its life in the end. The story of this tree demonstrates that the very things that hurt us, physically as well as emotionally, may have helped more than you may ever know. Many of them left scars, but maybe we need to accept the scars and at times to even celebrate them.
Why not? The scars are a reminder that you did indeed survive the deepest wounds. That in itself is an accomplishment. And they bring to mind something else, too. They remind us that what hurt in the past has actually made us better equipped to face the present. I turned to the young mother as she oh so sweetly spoke soothing words to her grumpy child and slowly made him grin, “Yes, we all have scars,” I think to myself remembering her strict father, “But let’s decide to look on them as things of beauty..!”

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