Do you remember telling scar stories when you were a kid? You know, everyone out-telling their friends how they earned their badges of honor? We just couldn’t stand to wait our turn because our scar was just as exciting as the other guy’s – or even better.
I have a half-inch scar on my knee, a continual reminder for one of my scar stories. This little badge-of-honor I earned while in the Girl Scouts of my sixth grade year. Our little troop of girls were on a camp out. These weekend excursions were a blast. We packed our suitcases (yes, I meant to say suitcases) and took off for the woods. And, as expected, we were to pitch our own tents.
Mind you, these were not the modern nylon, light weight, pop-into-place, tents. These were the heavy canvas with wooden pegs pounded into the ground, kind of tents.
Seeing we were short a hammer, my Girl Scout partner and I quickly learned our attempted method of rocks and shoes weren’t working too well. She and I managed to find a small hatchet, and figured it ought to do the trick. I was doing just fine hammering on a stake with the back of that small hatchet. But, the non-Girl Scout detail, was that this tool didn’t have a cover on the blade. In one negligent moment, the hatchet landed on my knee, making a fairly good slice. Didn’t feel a thing.
Needless to say, this experience was promptly added to my badge of honor scar stories. I was a Girl Scout and I did outdoor camping!
Family gatherings of uncles, aunts and cousins bring fond memories, especially in the summers. Us kids had a blast on those warm evenings, playing and showing off our latest attempts at gymnastic skills on the front lawn. You know, the who-can-balance-the-longest in a hand stand, and other kinds of body contortions. A particular evening, I wanted to show off how well I could do a back flip. In truth, I had only just begun learning from a class at the local park. There, I had a “spotter” to help my body flip properly. But, as it was, because us kids liked to show our supposedly perfected skills, I was determined to prove I could do it myself. In mid-stream and momentum of the flip, I came down on my left arm. A ‘pop’ was heard around the front yard.
I started school that year with a cast. Since I’m left-handed, it became a significant badge of honor braving the challege to write with my right hand.
The stories of our scars transition from less of a badge of honor, to more of a burden to bear. Delivering twins by emergency C-section -and later five more births – may be considered a celebration of life. With these celebrated scars, a huge toll on the body. C-sections are quite serious. In those days, these were not a choice, and only performed in the case of medical emergency. Scars of joy.
Scars of pain…
….one, of which nearly took my life.
A prescribed simple procedure, in and out in one day, they said. But, there was a mistake. A life threatening mistake. The day-surgery turned into a two week hospital stay, and several weeks of recovery.
It changed my life. That scar not only became a flesh wound, but a deep inner scar. When the memory is touched just right, to this day, a flood of emotions surface I thought forgotten.
Deep scars, hidden, are more difficult to share…with anyone.
Pain. Suffering. Hurt. Fear. Abandonment. Betrayal. Rejection. Innocence lost. Some…we inflicted on others.
I received an unexpected email not long ago from someone I hadn’t seen or heard in literally years. This person had seen my name posted on a site and wrote to ask if, indeed, it was me. I responded, and an invitation was made for me to call…if I wanted. I have yet to make that call.
There are no words. But, there it is. A reminder of something once painful, but remains still tender even though there’s an appearance of healing.
And we do bear them. Some proudly. Some humbly. Some ashamedly. We still hold some scars as proud moments, but the longer we live some aren’t seen as a badge of honor. We bear the mark one way or another.
Somehow, though, there is comfort in knowing we really aren’t alone. When we share our stories, our pain, enables us to comfort, or be comforted by those who have experienced similar.
Because there’s one scar story transcending all stories. The one that bled from the Cross. The one taking on the worst of all abuses, to cover all our stories. A balm, showing us how to Forgive. His scars are the true badge of true Honor. He bore what became too terrible for us. He Heals. Not to make us forget, but so we can bring our scars to him.
So we can tell the next story. His story.
By his wounds you have been healed.