Life is often full of painful moments. We stumble through, learn the hard way, often tripping and skinning our knees. Each and every one of us is able to show our battle scars. Sometimes it’s easy to allow those scars to define us, to say that this scar here, from this moment in my life this is why I am who I am. We can be so defined by one moment that we fail to live our lives. We live one single moment over and over as days, weeks, months and then years just roll by. We all know somebody who does this to the extreme and we want to grab them. Shake them. And yell at them, “LET IT GO!!!”
But we are all guilty of this to some point. We all have our scars and we all allow them to define certain parts of us. We all hold onto them in some way. They may not rule our entire life, but they do have a damn tight grip on certain spots of who we are.
These scars vary from person to person. Maybe for you it’s from a family member who hurt you, maybe a loved one who betrayed you, maybe a person that you put confidence in that let you down or maybe you let yourself down. These scars carry weight and they have a lasting effect. It’s the way that we view these scars that really puts these things into perspective. Are we holding onto them and giving them power to control our lives? Are we allowing the pain to continue, even after it’s gone?
“8 June 1972, a plane bombed the village of Trang Bang, near Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) in South Vietnam after the South Vietnamese pilot mistook a group of civilians leaving the temple for enemy troops.
The bombs contained napalm, a highly flammable fuel, which killed and badly burned the people on the ground.
The iconic black-and-white image taken of children fleeing the scene won the Pulitzer Prize and was chosen as the World Press Photo of the Year in 1972.
It communicated the horrors of the Vietnam War in a way words never could, helping to end one of the most divisive wars in American history and later becoming a symbol of the cruelty of all wars for children and civilian victims.
In the centre of the photo was a nine year old girl, who ran naked down the highway after stripping off her burning clothes.
Kim Phuc Phan Thi was with her family at the pagoda attending a religious celebration when the plane struck and lost several relatives in the attack. The children running with her were her own brothers and sisters.
She said, looking back, that three miracles happened on that dreadful day.
The first was that, despite suffering extensive third degree burns to her left arm, back and side, the soles of her feet were not burnt and she could run.
The second was that after she collapsed and lost consciousness the photographer, Nick Ut, took her to Barsky Hospital in Saigon.
The third was that her own mother found her there later that day whilst searching for her children.
Kim remained hospitalized for 14 months, and underwent 17 surgical procedures, until she recovered from the burns.” (taken from http://www.perdana4peace.org/2013/do-you-know-what-happened-to-the-girl-in-this-iconic-pulitzer-prize-winning-photo-from-the-vietnam-war/)
Kim spent the majority of her life dedicated to making the world a better place.
In 2008 she was quoted as saying:
“Forgiveness made me free from hatred. I still have many scars on my body and severe pain most days but my heart is cleansed. Napalm is very powerful, but faith, forgiveness, and love are much more powerful. We would not have war at all if everyone could learn how to live with true love, hope, and forgiveness. If that little girl in the picture can do it, ask yourself: Can you?’
Kim did not let her scars define her, rather she defined her scars. The scars became a mark from which she became a new person. She was free from the scars, the story they created did not belong to the pain that created them, but Kim owned the story. She used the story that was meant for harm and changed it to a story that was used for good.
We all have scars. We all have some scars that were meant to harm. How can we take those same scars and use them for good? How can we own the scars rather than the scars owning us?
Wounds have the ability to affect us for life. How we chose to deal with that is up to us.