Will You Leave A Mark On The World? An Impact or a Scar?

I was hungry for something to read. Hungry for words and stories that fill me with emotion. Hungry for something to take my mind off the idleness of a hot Nicaraguan afternoon. Hungry to be taught something new about our human world.

I wanted to be engulfed in a new world of characters, of conversations, of adventures, but coming across English books in Nicaragua isn’t easy. Without any physical books to pick up, I turned to my handy dandy Kindle app to try something new, and I found exactly what I was looking for in The Fault of Our Stars.

I ripped through the narrative in a few days, learning about cancer, parenting and relationships. It was a pleasant and quick read…

Until the end.

At the very end of the book, one of the characters shares a line that ripped me to pieces, and I can’t get it out of my head.

“The marks humans leave are too often scars.”

Those eight words have rocked me to my core and haven’t stopped. So much so that I thought it important to share with you all, partly because I’m not quite sure what to make of it, and I’m curious to hear your thoughts on it.

When each of us interprets anything — a sentence, an experience, a memory, a song — we use everything we’ve lived in the past to make sense of it. That’s why I may love a song to pieces, while JJ might shrug it off. That’s also why I may take certain things too personally, while you might not think twice about it. Each of us has lived a different set of days, and those days form the lens through which we see the world.

So, through my own lens, here’s how I interpreted the line:

We all want to leave a mark on this world, don’t we? We’re fed all this positive “change the world” mumbo jumbo from the time we’re in kindergarten. Kids want to be astronauts and rockstars, right?

Some of us get to do this. Others don’t.

But it’s very rare that the impact we make on this world is bigger than the scars we leave behind.

I can think of plenty of people I’ve scarred over the past twenty-seven years of my life. Some intentional, some not — but scars nonetheless.

It’s also very rare that we recall other people’s impact more than we recall the scars we carry around. I have my fair share of these that have proven difficult to shed.

But we’re all human. We’re all cut from the same cloth. Why do there need to be scars? Why do we need to suffer when there are so many other options?

There is communication. There is self-awareness. There is acceptance. There is understanding. There is wanting the best for everyone, no matter what. There is compassion.

Why is it so difficult to go through life without giving or receiving scars? Probably because we don’t know how.

So many of us don’t know how to process our own feelings. Without that, how can we talk about those feelings openly and calmly?

Human relationships are the basis of our very existence. Every single person you cross on the street, you speak to, you touch — how you approach them is what defines you as a person.

Your human relationships define if you’ll leave a mark on the world that’s positive or negative.

That’s why everyone reveres Abraham Lincoln and Oprah. Huge mark on the world, few inflicted scars to speak of.

That’s why stars like Tiger Woods and Justin Bieber fall from grace so quickly. Huge mark on the world blurred by the many scars inflicted on others.

This is why I love to ask people one question:

Who do you want to be like?

Your answer will say a lot about both the impact and the scars you may or may not leave behind.

Wishing you awesomeness,

— Marcella