One of the earliest lessons I learned from my father was that a wound heals stronger than the flesh before.
I remember wiping back tears and wondering how much stronger a scraped knee or a skinned elbow would eventually make me.
My father was not a doctor, and I won’t argue the medical merits of the lesson, but I know that for a young boy that lesson started the healing process even before the bleeding stopped.
Sure enough, my scraped knees grew stronger, and my scars grew smaller as I grew bigger.
I’ve carried that lesson with me all my life, as a boy on the playground, as a player on the football field, and as a young man starting life on my own.
Every time life knocked me down, I got up, knowing I would be stronger. I’ve taught that lesson to my children, wiping away tears and blood, all the while teaching them with conviction that their wounds would heal and that they would be stronger for them.
As a parent, I’ve also realized that seeing people we care about in pain can be harder than being wounded ourselves, but that all people, even our children, have to feel their own pain; everyone has to heal themselves to grow stronger.
I’ve realized over the years a deeper wisdom from those words. Wounds do heal stronger, even those that can’t be seen with our eyes.
I’ve learned that the struggles we endure make us stronger, the trials we face build us into the men and women who can face the next trial, and the one after that.
I’ve learned that even a broken heart heals stronger.
I’ve realized that sometimes, we have to let others experience their own heartbreak.
I’ve also come to believe that the same healing that makes individuals stronger, body and soul, makes people collectively stronger.
I know that friends can hurt each other, and that when the friendship heals, it will be stronger. The same is true for families, communities, and I hope for our nation as well.
The 2016 Presidential election was easily the most divisive I have ever seen, and the wounds suffered were truly deep. Regardless of who each of us individually supported, none of us came away unscathed. None of us emerged without some wounds.
As a nation, we will likely be very slow to heal. But, we will heal.
Friendships, relationships, families. Whatever sides were supported and whatever words were spoken, perhaps in the heat of the moment, perhaps online, perhaps in the wake of it all, we will heal.
We’ll wipe away the blood, we’ll heal ourselves, and we’ll help each other heal.
We’ll let time pass, and we will heal.
And, when we heal, we will be stronger than we were before.
Manuel Alvear is many things – among them a Texan, a father, and a longtime journalist. If you want him, you can find him – on the opinion page of the Burleson Star.