Shear Points

When I was a girl, we went camping a lot. Usually as deep into the wildernesses of OR, CA, WA and later AK as we could get. I have glorious memories… but this is about the rocks. See, one of the ways my parents paid for the trips – and also something that entertained and occupied my Dad – was prospecting for gold. Dad didn’t really fish (Mom taught me) he panned. And dredged. So these vacations were spent on the banks of rivers. 
I’d have to ask Mom, because I suspect this was something she came up with partly to keep busy little people (my sister and I) occupied and not roaming out of sight.

We would break rocks. Oh, not big ones… usually. We would run up and down the riverbed, collecting smith, rounded stones that looked pretty, and then back to Mom and the tiny campfire that I always reeling burning. We would hit the small stones between two big stones. Inside was beauty. 

Oh, not always. Some stones were possessed of a dull and boring interior. We selected ones that looked interesting on the outside, and we learned that exterior appearance varies wildly from interior. We also learned, although we could not hahave verbalized it then, that objects which had endured continuous stresses of flowing water until their very shape was changed from jagged to smooth… would break with a single sharp blow. 
Everyone has shear points. What can be endured over years, the soft flowing friction that polished off our rough edges, can be undone with the hammerblow of catastrophe. Even then, some stresses will bounce off leaving us superficially unaffected. But the right strike, at the right place, and we are shattered open, our inner content revealed to all. 

Unlike the rocks we left to be worn back into rounded replicates on the River, human beings heal. The difference is that we have the capacity to form scars. The deep wound leaves a mark. Within us, flesh and bone knit. Grow around what cannot be repaired, making new junctions. Even nerves, which we have long believed could not regrow from trauma, have ways to recover in at least some cases. It is the unusual wound that the human body cannot overcome, especially in the era of modern medicine. The human mind? 
Visible scars are easy to see and understand. Human skin, the largest organ on the body, has a near miraculous ability to heal. What remains is the over-enthusiastic remnants of that healing, and if you have enough scar tissue you know that it is not as flexible as unmarred skin tissue. But they can be softened with time and work. Bones heal thicker and stronger at the break point than they were before the injury.

The mind…
You cannot see a mental scar. Or the wound before it heals. With a physical injury you can see the signs of infection. You can clean the depths, and give the system a chance to work without first fighting an infection of opportunists that use any break in the skin to invade. Mentally? If you’d heart is broken, can you fend off an opportunistic pathogen? Likely not, if you don’t know to ward yourself against infection: predators stalk the weak and wounded.

I’ve been there. 
We all break. It’s the healing that matters. Getting up, going on with life is only the beginning. There is more to healing, much more. And just like a physical injury you have to be aware of the dangers of neglecting the wounds. Otherwise years later you will be finding pockets of nastiness deep within you, that can reinfect you all over again. 
Be vigilant. Don’t try to heal alone. And know that in time, your scars are what make you uniquely you. Through the flames that drive off the dross, mended with gold, you are become kintsukuroi.