I’ve been thinking about scars recently. Ever scar has a story. You can chronicle much of my life through the scars on my body. I see them with a fondness – not because of the injury it represents, but because of the memory. They are a tangible reminder of what I have gone through to get to where I am today.
A few days ago, I started making a mental list of scars I could see or feel – it took me a while to get started because I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go chronologically, by level of interestingness, by size of the wound and scar, or to just start at the head and work my way down.
(For those of you who find this kind of thing interesting, enjoy. For those who don’t, skip down a bit and you can finish the thoughts on scars. I would enjoy reading about scars though, so I will write about mine…)
On my forehead, right about the hairline, there’s a small scar from the time I was playing tag with my sister and tripped. I was about 5 or 6. I managed to catch my head on the metal bolt that held our bunk-bed together, and it gave me a nice little gash. I remember seeing my hand covered with blood. At that point, sure I was dying, I began to scream. My mom thought I was being overly dramatic, until she saw me run through the door covered in blood. I sure showed her…
There’s the small scar right between my eyes from when I had the chicken-pox.
When I was three or four I was playing with Judy Tolliver. I did something to make her mad, and she responded by throwing a block of wood at me. (I always did have a way with the ladies). It hit me on my upper lip, on the left side. It makes my smile kind of lopsided, which is fun.
On my chin there is a diagonal line about an inch long. It used to look similar to the Nike Swoosh symbol. When I was in high school, I managed to pass out at the top of a flight of stairs. I came to at the bottom, blood all over the place, and not remembering how I got there. 20 stitches later, I was as good as new.
There’s the faded scar on my right hand from the bike accident when I was 12 or so. I was racing down a hill, trying to beat my best time, when I almost hit another kid who was walking home from school. I lost control, went flying over the handlebars, and limped home in shame.
There’s the four lines in a row on my left thumb from the time I accidentally stuck it inside the motor of a hair dryer in our physics class.
There’s the operation scars on my stomach from when I was six years old and had to have an operation to correct my double hernia. The self-dissolving stitches they sewed me up with weren’t. So when my dad pulled them out a few weeks later, I remember not being very happy about it. Not happy at all.
On my right knee there’s a small scar from the time I was going on a treasure hunt with a map my sister had made. I was reading the map, not looking where I was going, and tripped on a white picket fence (the kind that goes around flower-beds.) Of course, one of the fence posts happened to go into my knee. I just can’t win.
And then we get to the feet. Going around barefoot a lot gives the chance to develop a number of scars. There’s the ones I have on both heels from giant blisters I got hiking in Colorado in un-broken in boots. There’s the one on my right foot from the time I jumped into my friend’s pool and managed to catch my foot on the side.
Then there’s the one on the bottom of my right foot from the time I was riding a friend’s motorcycle in high school. I went to kickstart the motor, and my foot slipped off at the wrong angle, slicing my foot open. For the next week I had to kick start the motorcycle with my left foot, which is not the way you’re supposed to do it.
And finally (saving the best for last) there’s the round scar on my left foot, right in the middle. It’s a long story (at least if I want to make myself not look like a complete idiot), but the short version follows. I got that one my senior year of college when I jumped off the roof of the library at Taylor into a pile of bushes. Being barefoot, and not landing on my back, my feet went right down to the undergrowth, where it met a nice sharp stick about as wide as a pencil. Being harder and more durable than my foot, it went into it (about an inch or so). But it healed, I’m still walking, and all it left was a little tiny scar.
(You can start reading again here) –
The best thing about scars is that they are healed. Our bodies, amazingly, have this ability to fix themselves when we break them (or they are broken for us). But even though the wounds heal, we are left with the scars. Sometimes the scars are tender, painful even. But they represent wholeness from brokenness. I love that Jesus is represented as having conquered death, but he still has his scars. In fact, he is known by his scars.
I have other scars that are not as visible – scars on my heart. My mom’s death. Jeferson’s murder. The pain of rejection. The fear of inadequacy and failure. In the moment they seem unbearable. Yet grace and time heal these wounds. They scar and fade. This healing does not mean that it is as if these things never happened. Just like the scars on my body, the scars on my heart will remain with me. They are a part of who I am. They are a part of what has made me into what I am. And I am thankful for the scars – for the memories they represent, the love they remind me of, and the adventures that are yet to be had.