As I was taking down some of the Christmas decorations yesterday, I got a scratch. That’s typical, after all, artificial trees have sharp pieces. It was a reminder of how hard I was working to get a lot of it done. It was also a reminder of how grateful I am for scratches and scars.
I have a few scars, nothing too serious, but they are there – on my chin, on my abdomen, on my hand, maybe a few on my heart. Reminders of far more serious injuries. I got my first scar at five years old when I learned that a curb would stop my bicycle, but not me as I went flying over the handlebars and landed with my chin sliding on the sidewalk. It’s long since healed, but the story lives on in my mind.
Greg has a BIG scar on his calf. Several years ago he was riding through the woods on a dirt bike when his confidence and his abilities no longer matched and he crashed. Fortunately the guy he was riding with was able to call 9-11. The spiral fracture of his tibia resulted in surgery with pins and screws. He bemoans how well that scar healed, “Dudes need at least one good scar. They’re manly!”
Scars are banners of survival! Everyone with a scar had something happen serious enough to live an indelible mark. Some of the stories are tragic, even horrifying. Others are the result of inexperience, an accident, maybe a little youthful indifference to danger. No matter the cause, there’s a story behind the scar.
When we see someone with a scar, we often look away, uncomfortable about asking what happened. That’s the safe thing to do. But maybe as the bearer of the scar, we should be a little proud of our mark. It shows we overcame hardship. It shows we suffered and recovered. It shows each of us has a strength we sometimes hide. England’s Princess Eugenie did that when she wore a wedding dress cut low enough on her back to show a large scar from a scoliosis surgery she’d had as a pre-treen. She wanted to encourage others who’d suffered from the disease to be less embarrassed by it.
So, as odd as it seems, I am grateful for my scars. I feel joy at knowing I found the strength to heal.
There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. Don’t let a scar stop you from seeing everything you can.
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