My body has a new scar.   The source is a bit unique, I will be the first to admit.

You can laugh–it is rather funny.  It was a superficial wound, but I scar easily.  I wonder, really, what is the percentage of the population that has been bitten by a sea lion?

But it started me thinking, in my weird, artistic, non-linear way…about scars.  First, I did a mental inventory of some of my other permanent marks.  

Like the last time I was in Mexico, diving a shipwreck.  I exited a portal opening, and cut myself on the jagged metal.  Three ugly stitches.   But I smile every time I see it, because it is evidence of a risk taken, an awesome adventure, living on the edge…as does the new sea lion “kiss”.

The two faint marks on my face:  both childhood dog bites.  One from an animal in the family.  One I loved and knew well.  That one was a violation of trust.  The other from a stranger-dog, who wagged it’s tail the entire time, never showing true intentions.  Lessons learned.

A surgeon’s scar.  A time I purposefully submitted myself to a knife wound and the recovery time after,  in order to correct something.

Road rash from my skateboard days.  The wind in my face in exchange for a nasty spill.

The indent of the wooden fence where my childhood friend and I would walk along the ledge of it, to prove our balance and daring.  One day I lost.  

The first time I shaved my leg and didn’t understand the finer nuances of pressure and the usefulness of shaving cream. 

Of course there are more…

These marks tell some of the stories of my life.  Times I shouldn’t have trusted and I did.  Times I lost my balance.  Rites of passage.  Dares I took.  Roads less traveled, if you are looking for the cliché. 

Emotionally, I have scars and stories, too. 

The unique tear that can only come from a broken childhood home.

Shards left behind from shrapnel shot in school, the pain of being told I am not enough and will never be, even with the right clothes and hair and makeup.  Taking the hit and being myself anyway.

Bite marks–I shouldn’t have trusted but I did.  Or I had no reason to fear and it came anyway.  Words that wounded over and over, and will never fade completely.

Surgeon’s marks where mending was necessary.  Pain that came with growth and healing.  Slow recovery times…

The emotional hit and run.  Coming back to consciousness in a ditch, alone, broken.  And once healing hands that chose to amputate.  I tell myself the wound was too great.  But when I let my mind get too quiet, the ghost pain still overwhelms me.

The burn, from getting too close to the fire.  Acknowledging full well the risks and taking them, not regretting the marks they made.  Laughing in the white-heat, knowing what would come later and not even caring.

The emotional scars I carry also tell some of the stories of my life.  The things I have lived, lived through, survived, conquered.  Lessons learned.  Risks taken.  How close I was willing to get, even though it cost me something.  Being vulnerable in ways that richly blessed and then eventually burned.  Scars bear the testimony of the depth and variety of my experiences, the quality of my relationships.  Only ones that run deep have the ability to wound.

(Now, I would never, ever compare my pain to His.  This is only an observation about His scars.)

I have always been fascinated by Jesus in this way.  After His crucifixion, He was resurrected.  Given a perfected body.   He always had the power to heal.  Yet He kept His scars.  In fact, only by showing His scars to His friends, did they know Him.  They thrust their fingers into His side, and that told them the truth of who He was.  The scars made Him authentic, real, recognizable. 

His scars were a testament to His life. 

We all bear wounds.  Some have healed over, some fester, some ache in the absence left behind.  Maybe there is a better way to look at them, to see them as a reminder of brave living, of true loving, of vulnerability and risk taking in a world that makes you want to line your room with pillows and pull down the shades.  I salute you, fellow scar-bearers.  Walking wounded.  Battle-weary.  I nod to your victories too, however.  Scars are made by living tissue.  We survived.  We live on.

Is that not a better way to look at our scars?


~ by collidescopes on April 26, 2011.

3 Responses to “Scar”

  1. Beautifully said.

  2. A scar can be a memorial of sorts for both the good and the bad. Perception and perspective have a lot to do with how we see them. Both the scar and how we see them can change with time. Some of them we wish to hide and others we wear like a banner to show the world what we endured.

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