Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Scars and Tenacity

Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire

She is the same age as me and has been a patient at the hospital for over 100 days. We walked outside in the late summer sunshine as she shared her story. Whether all the details were exactly true or not doesn’t matter as past memories are easily distorted by emotion and time. 

“I have gone through life with a pickaxe, pulling myself up a rock face,” she said. 

Above average intelligence, education, and good looks did not smooth the scarring from abusive relationships, years of mental and physical illness, job loss and community disconnection. Life was a struggle but she was still fighting to make it to the summit. She talked about life “outside the village” and her “misfit” faith which was not understood in any church she had attended.   

I marvelled at her insight and her inability to find an easier route on her journey. Surely there was a paved road somewhere on that mountain. In comparison, my life is a peaceful cruise in a small, seaworthy vessel. I have encountered a few storms but the sun quickly appears through the clouds as I follow the beautiful shoreline.

We live in a country that is at peace, with good social services and free medical care. I have no metaphors for the life journeys of people who live where there is war, who are displaced and surviving without their basic needs being met. Every day I see how unexpected illness and injury can change the world of an individual or family. My life could be altered in an instant too. We never know when we might need that pickaxe.


  1. What an interesting image. Going through life with a pick ax to help one through the rough times!

  2. Wow. I love the pickaxe metaphor, too. So true. I don't know why some friends must face such challenges while my life so far seems easy in comparison.

  3. Yes, life has been relatively easy for me as well. I can't even imagine feeling as if the entire journey had been "pulling myself up a rock face." Cause for celebration that she did, but sad that there was SO much continual struggle.

  4. Good of metaphors, Ruth, from pickaxes, to paved roads and calm seas.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.