Posted by: Eric and Heidi | September 26, 2014

Wearing Our Scars

You know the really annoying thing about popular cultural adages?  They tend to be surprisingly accurate.  Take for example me and the quip, “Chics dig scars.”  The truth is that I am fascinated by scars.  One of the first conversations I had with my (now) husband was a colorful tour of his childhood via the scars on his body.  In fact, the two men that I love most in the entire world- Eric and my dad- are both badly scarred.  And it’s true.  I dig it.  I love their scars.  I love the stories they tell.

Eric recently is sporting a brand new scar, and it is a beauty.  It covers his entire right knee and is now in the fifth stage of healing.  It has been black, purple, scabbed in white, scabbed in yellow, and now bright, vibrant pink.  It has crusted and it has oozed and it’s snagged and…well…you get the picture.  It hasn’t been pretty at all.  Except to me.  I look at that scar and I see Eric’s love for our children.  I see him grabbing Abbi back from falling down a slippery boulder.  I see him using his arms to cushion Lia, leaving nothing to brace himself.  I see him skidding a couple feet on his knee, clutching our baby to protect her.  I see the blood running down his leg and our girls walking away without even one scratch.  I hear the sincerity in his voice when he whispers to me, “At least it’s just me.  It’s not our girls.”  I look at that scar and am reminded that my children have a daddy who would go to any lengths to protect them.  That he loves them more than he loves himself and that there is nothing, nothing!, that he wouldn’t do for his children.  Yes, I dig that scar.

And then there’s my dad.  Talk about a scar!  Dad is missing an entire chunk of his left calf.  Eric tells Dad that he should invent a story about being attacked by a shark.  People would no doubt believe that story.  The scar is impressive.  Covering the large hole in his leg is skin that still bears the evidence of grafting.  It is white and pink, with ragged edges and it sinks about a quarter inch deeper than the rest of his leg.  Want to know what I see when I look at it, though?  I see my dad giving me a thumbs up as I walk into his hospital room for the first time, eager to comfort me.  I hear Dad’s voice, genuinely hoping that the people in the SUV that hit him were able to enjoy their vacation in spite of the accident.  I see my mom curled into Dad’s chest in that hospital bed, healing each other simply be being together.  I remember the phone call when the doctor was able to save Dad’s leg and I see Dad walking me down the aisle two years later without even a limp.  I see Dad golfing with my brother and hanging Christmas lights with my husband and taking his granddaughters far out into the surf.  That scar tells the story of God’s protection.  Of His mercy.  That scar is beautiful.

I’m afraid my scars aren’t quite so pretty.  I wear mine on the inside.  I wear the scar of infertility, the one that makes me, even still!, a little jealous when I hear of someone else getting pregnant.  I wear the scar of a disrupted adoption, which carries with it lingering distrust and a brand new tendency to wonder about worst case scenarios.  I wear the scar of a NICU mom, which makes me a little bitter towards people whose plans go exactly as expected.  I resent ultrasounds and doctor’s visits and maternity clothes and newborn pictures and joyful discharges from the hospital.  And I compare.  My situation was worse.  I’ve been through more.  I’m stronger.  My scars?  My scars are ugly.

I suspect that I’m not the only one.  I suspect that, if you’re being totally honest, you might find that you have some scars as well.  In fact, I suspect that we are all scarred.  What strikes me is that the difference is not in whether or not our scars exist but in how we choose to wear them.  Eric and Dad wear their scars beautifully.  Selflessly.  They use their scars as an invitation to listen to other people tell their stories.  Somehow, their pain encourages others.  Their scars promote healing.  They use their scars to love.  I wear my scars as medals; as proof of my martyrdom.  No one is as strong as me and I have the scars to prove it.  I can’t get rid of my scars.  They are here to stay.  What I can change, though, is how I wear them.  I can work to have my scars bring out in me an extra dose of compassion, not competition.  I can choose empathy over arrogance.  I can wear my scars to build bridges to reach those around me, not to build walls to keep others out.  I can use my scars to love people, not to look down on them.  My scars are here to stay, and so are yours.  It’s just up to us to decide how to wear them.

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Responses

  1. This is beautiful Heid…. I have recently found out about something called kinkusoiru (I think that’s how it’s spelled) basically it is pottery that is broken and then pieced back together with gold becoming stronger for the breaking. I think that’s what God does with us. No matter how we are broken, He pours His healing gold into our brokenness and we are that much more beautiful and stronger for our breaking. Your scars are beautiful, my friend! I have seen grace & strength & surrender from you and know that God can use your scar stories to speak of Him to all who see them! Love you!


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