I have two scars that I’ve carried with me since childhood.
One is on my chest.
As I remember the story, when I was a tiny, little girl, I pulled a percolator (coffee pot for those younger than a certain age), filled with boiling coffee, off of the cabinet and on to myself. I don’t have a conscious memory of the event and thankfully, only a small, flat white memorial wound is all that was left behind.
The second, is a larger scar on the front of my left leg. A war-wound from my days in fast pitch softball battles, sliding into home plate. I was Fearless but not very smart. As a left-handed gal, I slid right leg out, left leg tucked under. Every spring and summer, from the time I was about 12 until I was 15 or so, I carried scrapes and scars on that left leg. There was only one goal – score the run!
Both of those scars are barely discernible now. But I know they are there.
I carry others physical scars, but those two define my character as a young girl. Curious – to the point of danger. Fearless – to the point of wounding.
It’s the other scars I want to address today. The scars we carry around that no one sees; at least not with the physical eyes.
Our friends and co-workers may sense something holds us back. We may suspect that the shadow in a friend’s eyes is more than tears because of a particularly heart-rending scene in a Hallmark commercial or our favorite romcom. An unexpected outburst of anger or passion from an acquaintance leaves us suspecting that something was hiding underneath. Yet, for the most part we carry our wounds closer to us than the skin that covers our bones. They hide beneath every heartbeat and whoosh of breath. We guard them, because they are the most delicate essence of who we are, whether anyone knows about them or not.
I hesitate to write about this, because it comes from a conversation with my Darling. You know from reading my posts, that Richard has suffered many things in an effort to medically deliver him from cancer and the effects of treatment. Those treatments involved surgeries – minor and major – that resulted in scars. He says they remind him of the things I must have endured over the last years.
When you are the person primarily responsible for the care of a critically or chronically ill person, there are many times you feel unseen. It doesn’t mean that you don’t love that person beyond all reckoning. In fact, for the most part, all you want is for the right people to see THEM; take care of THEM; heal THEM. But in the midst of that, you end up carrying much more than you ever imagined you would, or could. Not only do you carry all of your own worries and fears, you carry their concerns, and the concerns of those closest to you.
You war with the demons that swirl around you in the dark moments. You scream at the tormentors that seek to drag you and your loved one down. You battle with doctors and nurses and family and pharmacies and insurance companies and care providers and anything that steps in the way of the person you love.
You sleep too much, or not enough.
You eat too much, or not enough.
You cry at inappropriate times – or not at all.
You scream at the people who love you – because you can’t scream at the person who is ill.
You want life to be better, and you feel guilty about wishing it was.
And then, when life is better, you are afraid to believe it will last.
Those are the days I live in now. The afraid-to-believe days of remission and strength building.
You see, when you live every moment afraid, you forget how to life Fearless and Curious. And those are the hardest scars to bear – at least for me.
I’ve only had one Saving Grace. The hope that comes from Jesus and knowing Him. To all of the friends who read this, and all of the loved ones who have showered us with kindness over the last years, I say thank you. You were used by Him to keep me sane. Yet, in the darkest places of my mind and heart – where the most ragged, multi-layered wounds exist, only Jesus. Only Jesus.
And even then, those scars have tried to attach themselves to the muscles and tendons that must flex to keep me moving, and build walls between me and my only Hope.
I think about my brother-in-law and his recent knee surgery. He had to work that invaded knee joint in order to keep it moving. He had to tear away at the scar tissue that tried to form. If he hadn’t, he would be crippled. He had to face the unbearable pain to keep from facing an unimaginable future.
I broke my right elbow when I was in my 20’s. The remedy – move the elbow. Keep the scars from building up and paralyzing the joint. If I hadn’t faced the pain, I would have faced a crippled future.
For any person experiencing soul scars – the only remedy is to keep fighting them back. Refuse to be crippled by them. Tear them away by trusting and hoping and believing – even when everything around you says it is futile and pointless to believe.
I find myself in battles I’ve never fought before. The curiosity of the tiny blonde girl, and brave, undaunted spirit of that teenage sports hero are hidden somewhere beneath the scars of my recent days. I believe that with the help of the Lord, SHE will return.
In the meantime, I take hold of the lessons of the storm, and I raise my hands to heaven. I lift up the life I’ve lived as an offering and as a testimony to the keeping power of the One who bears all my wounds in His body.
Isaiah 53: 3-6 – New Living Translation
He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.
Yet it was our weaknesses He carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed Him down.
And we thought His troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for His own sins!
But He was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on Him
the sins of us all.
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the Champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
Day by day, week by week, month by month, these scars are fading away, just like the ones of my childhood. I will be more curious and walk in great fearlessness. My sparkle will return and the courage to slide in for the win will triumph. The scars will become less prominent and many will forget they are even there. But I will know where they reside.
Just as you know where your scars hide.
Live Inspired. Live At Your Best,
Do you have a story to share? I’d love to hear how you are overcoming the scars of your heart. Please share. It could help someone else.