Developing Character

Posted on Thursday 5 October 2006

Today’s quote of the day was from Kahlil Gibran. Kahlil Gibran wrote:

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”

Some days I wonder about that. There are days, when I look back at what I’ve been through and wonder what effect it has had on who I have become. Would I be the same person if my life had gone differently. Did losing David when I was 19 change who I am today?

I know I lost about seven years of my life to that event—years spent trying to figure out if I were still a twin, and if I were, how I could possibly be one, if I no longer had a twin brother. As a child, my identity was being one of a set of twins. Discovering who I was then, now that my twin had gone, was something that I had to do. Dr. Brandt, founder of Twinless Twins Support Group International, put it best: “Once a twin, always a twin—whether you twin is there or not doesn’t matter.”

On the other end of the spectrum, I look at Yoon. I wonder if the fact that Yoon has never lost anyone in her life, or seen any of the darker things in life, has affected who she is today. Today, is her birthday, and I would like to wish her a happy 27th birthday. My time with Yoon has helped heal many of the scars left by Gee’s passing.

I don’t think that she is yet the person that I have seen her to be, but from the last few e-mails I have received from her, it would appear that she is getting there. I hope she and her family are doing well.

I think most people fall somewhere between the two of us.

I strongly believe that if you have never seen the darkness, you can never truly appreciate the light. Joy and sorrow, happiness and sadness, light and dark, are merely two sides of the same thing. However, without having seen both, I don’t believe you can truly understand what one means without know what the other is.

My friend Vesta often says that what does not kill us makes us stronger. I don’t think that is true for everybody. Some people crack under the strain of adversity, others survive it and learn from it, and yet others seem to thrive on it. I probably fall somewhere in that second category.

Five years have passed since 2001. It was a year of loss for many people. For me and my extended family of friends, it was a very bad year, and the likes of which I hope never to see again. One of my best friends lost his grandfather, and another his father. I lost my wife, my uncle, and my good friend and mentor, Dr. Brandt. September 11, resulted in the deaths of many more, including the twin of one person I know.

Looking back, I can see but one bright event in that whole year. In April of 2001, my eldest nephew was born. Nicholas probably saved my father’s life. Gee and my father were very close. It was his eldest brother, my uncle who died that year.

The loss of those two hit my father harder than anyone realized. I believe the time my father spent with Nicholas, while my father was recovering from a major surgery, is the major reason he survived those two losses. Nick was the bandage to the scars left by my uncle and Gee’s deaths for my father.

I would like my readers to think about a few questions: What scars do you have? Do they show, or do you hide them away? Have they helped make you who you are today? Have they healed? Who would you be without them?

4 Comments for 'Developing Character'

    October 14, 2006 | 12:17 am

    scars–yes, i have them…some self inflicted, some caused by others unintentionally, some just the way life panned out… and yes i think they show, even when i try to hide them…they’re still there…wrapped tightly in my fears…and the fears agrivate them, rub them raw. thankfully i’m learning my scars aren’t who i am..they may be a part of my story, they may influence my choices and my beliefs, but i am more than my scars. the healing is an on going process…a cycle. without them i’d still be michelle but it would be a different michelle than i see in the mirror everyday…not better, not worse…just different…

    October 22, 2006 | 9:07 am


    Thank you for visiting and commenting. I am glad you finally came. I agree, scars rarely define a person, but they definitely have had some effect on shaping who a person is, and how they became who they are. Healing is always an on-going process, something I have learned painfully, time and again.


    October 30, 2006 | 5:45 pm

    “The deeper sorrow carves you, the more joy your cup can hold”

    When I was 24, my boyfriend was killed in a motorcycle wreck the day after we had talked about moving in together. I couldn’t figure out why the sun bothered to come up in the morning, after that. That scar defined my carpe diem outlook on life, but also, having had good relationships and bad ones, I knew what I was looking for when I met Dan …

    I need shadow in my life, just like in a mountain blizzard whiteout, all light and no darkness at all, is frightening and disorienting.

    Best wishes on your journey and your becoming. – e.

    October 30, 2006 | 6:03 pm


    I’d have to say I approve of your choice in mates… but my opinion might be a bit biased. I fully agree that life has to have balance…light and dark, joy and sorrow…otherwise it becomes meaningless.

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