The Thorns

Cally LoganBy Cally Logan7 Minutes

Excerpt taken from The Wallflower That Bloomed: Finding Your Place at the Lunch Table of Life by Cally Logan

Chapter 2
The Thorns

The beginning of this love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
—Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Wounds
Soul wounds are something most all of us at some point in life experience, Wallflower or not. For some these wounds are on the surface, apparent to all. For others, you can see the wounds carried around in the eyes, which really are the gateway to the soul; and for others the wounds are carefully hidden but emerge when someone steps on the landmine that triggers it all. However these wounds are presented, they all pinpoint the deeper issue that at some time in your life something was said, done, or imposed upon your tender and formative soul that left a stain, tear, or cut that never really healed over.

In whatever way the wound was given, you—as an emotion-filled, living being—deserve to have validation. Even if the one who wounded you didn’t do so intentionally, it is still your reality. Many of us have been told to “suck it up” or were gaslit to believe we are a loon for considering a comment or action as a gash, but other people are not you. Their point of view is different from yours, and yours is valid hurt harmed me. Grant yourself the permission to not just stuff it deep down or shove it under the rug. To heal the wound, you must first expose it to air. A covered laceration will not be able to fully heal unless exposed to the air, and that is true for literal and figurative wounds.

It is odd how short the teen years are in the span of a typical lifetime, but how extremely formative they are to  the years that follow. As mentioned before, the thought of which lunch table we found ourselves at seems to be something many of us carry into adulthood. Numerous movies centered around the teenage years capture the situation well, even if a little hyperbolic. Take Clueless, for example, when the main character, Cher, is narrating all the various groups seated at lunch tables, and how even in the same groups there proved to be a lot of competition and tearing down. Even Cher’s friend Tai cut her down with harsh words later in the movie. Thankfully Tai apologized, which yielded the ability to endure in friendship and the story ends happily, but it’s evidence that even at the most popular table in school wounds can be caused by peers. Few of us come out of high school without something that shaped us in a new way that at first was a jarring event.

We also find examples in Scripture where individuals were belittled for “sitting at the wrong table,” and we see Christ’s response:

Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”

When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Matthew 9:10, NLT)

Whether it occurs in their teen years or in the years that follow, people have been marginalized for eons. The Pharisees stood in judgment of Jesus for inviting those they deemed “scum” without really seeing or inquiring of the bigger reason those people had been invited in the first place.

As we attempt to remove some of the embedded thorns that have caused abrasion within us, ones that are thwarting our ability to really grow and thrive, be kind to yourself. Remember that you are the sum total of all your
experiences, from infancy to this very day. Remember too that you are allowed to not be okay even decades later with how something impacted you. The key is to acknowledge the pain, expose it to the light, and work toward healing it so that it is no longer something that could hinder you from fulfilling all your potential. As we move onward, you may be reminded of one or more wounds that had an impact on who you are today, and some of those wounds may be unnerving to recall. It may be wise to keep a list of these memories, events, or recollections to air out for healing through prayer or therapy or to dissect with someone you trust. Part of healing a wound is getting out the dirt, the disease, and the infection within, and that can sting. But keep going. Remember, we are on a mission of blooming, so be kind and patient with yourself in that process; it may not be swift.