Scars

[Image description: close up of a dried beech leaf with several holes, against the backdrop of a gray sky and bare tree branches]

Some scars are visible at a glance,
like the one that misshapes
my right eyebrow,
acquired playing tag as a kid
too close to the side mirror
of my dad’s parked Oldsmobile.

Many scars, perhaps even most,
can only be seen by the reverberations
of their aftermath, how they shape
reactions and responses,

how they cause
fight or
flee or
freeze or
fawn,
cause to believe one must
choose between one self-betrayal
or another.

Too many of us think
we have to see,
to understand the cause
in order to accept,
to accommodate what a person needs,
to affirm validity of healing,

as though we must agree
with someone’s navigation
of their own experience before
we deem them worthy.

When truth is there are experiences
we will never understand
because we do not bear those scars,
inhabit that body,
live that life.

Love says we don’t have to understand,
to endure the same wounds
to experience the same challenges,
in order to believe someone’s truth,
to welcome them as they are.

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