The Scars We Choose
We all are scarred. When I was a child, I thought we could manage our lives or bandage them in a way that it could be avoided but now I know. The world is simply too broken to live unmarked.
I now bear the weight of opened eyes. My heart aches with images of these atrocities in my own neighborhood. Can our souls cry? I swear sometimes I can feel my heart breaking.
Even with the horrors here, I thought they were still “them” problems. I didn’t realize they were us problems. The cut of sin runs deeply in the world and sometimes the stitches knitting it back together again hurt too.
I have chosen to use ink to forever mark my body three different times.
The first time was for a friend. Her body bore the brunt of being born into a world still reeling from the effects of sin and, despite the hopes and wishes and plans of all who loved her, was on the operating table, undergoing heart surgery after only a few days of breathing in life.
The second looks most like a scar. I was fascinated with the idea of a white tattoo, something not dramatic but something that subtly showed the change of the ring on my finger on the side of my body.
The third was my most spontaneous. It is a story of grace and love and God’s providence. I didn’t know this would scar me as well.
These are the scars I chose, there are others I didn’t chose. The lines under my eyes from chronic pain. The lines on my stomach from unsuccessful surgeries. The ache my heart will always carry as a result of depression and infertility. Despite these horrors, I can’t help but think that there is power in the naming these scars.
I have a few more scars I have chosen to have etched on my body the way my heart is etched. The first is a for a joyous event (but don’t these events still always change us forever), my brother’s marriage. His new wife and I decided to get a tattoo to reflect our sisterhood. The second, is to recognize the infertility that has changed me and will forever impact my heart and body.
My husband was disappointed when I said I wanted to get a lotus flower rising out of symbol for infertility. He thought the naming and own of it was too much, that it would hurt me and that there was power in labeling myself that way. I do see power in the labeling, but in a very different way.
There is power in looking your fear in the face and saying, “You don’t own me, I own you! See, I am taking control of this and you will forever be mine but I am no longer yours.” Forgoing victimhood to claim beauty rising out of this sadness seems like the great step indeed towards healing.
In dealing with my scars I have learned the greatest victory comes from remembering that another was scarred for me. His hands and side still bear the marks of my sin. It was beautiful, terrible thing. This things has forever changed the meaning of scars.
. . . Knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:14-18, ESV
These scars have been redeemed. They are being used to prepare us for something more beautiful then we can imagine. I’m okay carrying that etched into my side.