Battle Scars

On an unseasonably warm day for early February, a friend and I took a drive through the beige winter landscape. We went east as far as Lexington, Mo., where we stopped to see a Civil War-era cannonball embedded into a column of the courthouse.

The good people of the community kept the cannonball exactly where it ended up during the Battle of Lexington, but added a description to commemorate the events of September 18-20, 1861. It seemed peculiar. What lasting importance is there in preserving part of the battle?

There’s something built into us that seeks to preserve some of the wounds we’ve acquired as a result of the battles in our own lives. No matter the desire for healing and the effort required to move beyond, we want to show others our boo boos, have them acknowledge both our vulnerability and courage, and marvel with us that we survived — maybe even thrived — a particular chapter in our personal history.

We would be wise to be more like Lexingtonians in preserving the debris of war. The wounds we show others make us uniquely human. Yet, those who show and tell need those to see and hear the stories about how those scars came to be, helping us discern the important lessons they continue to provide.

Courthouse, Lexington, Mo. (2017)

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