Reminders of Lessons Learned
One weekend when I was in first grade, I was at a barn auction with my parents (VERY Wyoming, I know). In the back corner of this huge barn, several of my classmates and I were playing. We galloped around, pretending to be horses. All of a sudden, a giant piece of metal fell from the corner of the barn, startling us. We weren’t so much afraid of the metal falling as we were of getting into trouble. So we used the combined strength of each of our 6-year-old bodies to push the metal back up. Once finished, we were proud of ourselves for having come up with this sneaky, brilliant idea to avoid getting in trouble.
However, as it turned out – that idea was actually a big mistake. A few minutes later, the metal fell again, this time clobbering me on the top of my head. I passed out. The next thing I remembered was coming to, standing up, and discovering blood streaming from my head. I remember my dad grabbing me, me sitting in the car, and my mom applying pressure to my head. I remember arriving at the hospital, laying on the ER table, lights flashing in my eyes.
I got 27 stitches that day. Needless to say, the accident left a mark. If I position my hair the right way, you can see an amazingly noticeable scar across the top of my scalp, even to this day.
When I was seven years old, I endured a similar incident in my bedroom. One day, I was putting my clothes away, as per the instructions of my mom. However, being a 7-year-old, I was always in a hurry to go on my next adventure. I put clothes in my drawer “the lazy way.” When I went to reopen the drawer, it wouldn’t open. I tugged and tugged and suddenly the mirror on the dresser fell on me. The corner of the mirror missed hitting my left eye by mere millimeters. Once again, blood streamed down my face, my mom called my grandma, and the two of them rushed me to the hospital.
I believe I got 13 stitches that day. The scar was very prominent on the side of my eye during my entire childhood. Now as an adult, it’s still noticeable. However, it’s fading as I age.
There are so many times when I look in the mirror and run my hand along those scars, thinking how lucky I was that the cut on my head wasn’t deeper, or that the mirror didn’t hit my eye. I’ve never been ashamed of my scars, because I’m thankful God blessed me enough to protect me both times and let me escape with only scars.
We all have scars, some on our skin, some on our spirits, and some on our hearts. While the scars like the one on my head or near my eye are visible, the scars on our spirits or hearts are actually much more profound. Our spiritual and emotional scars are revealed in the way we live our lives. If we allow them to, scars can change the way we treat people, or the way we allow others to treat us. If we aren’t careful, we can let our scars block other people from entering our lives, from becoming our friends, and from loving us. Often times, we let scars hold us back. We let scars keep us fearful, and we let them prevent love from blossoming.
It seems once we enter adulthood, our body faces less of a threat to being physically wounded, but our heart and spirit begins taking a beating. People hurt us, let us down, and break our heart. Our spirit is filled with all the hurtful and unkind things people have said to and about us. Our heart begins to overflow with pain from people deciding we aren’t what they want, or that we fall short of their expectations, or that they can’t find a reason to keep us around. As an adult so many of our wounds can’t simply be covered by a Band-Aid or stitched up, because at this point, it’s not about what our wounds look like – it’s now how they feel. With spiritual wounds, it’s so easy to become overwhelmed by the pain.
What we must remember is that no wound is forever, the scar will come.
Scars are simply physical reminders of pain that has healed. Sure, the scar can be seen but if we allow it to, the pain will melt away. Scars are only supposed to be reminders of lessons learned. They aren’t supposed to keep us from living.
Scars teach us to be more cautious, but they also inform us that we’re strong and brave, and we can make it through whatever life throws at us. Scars confirm that when we love and let go, we might get hurt. But if that happens, we’ll be stronger and wiser for the next go around.
I have 40 total stitches under my belt, a body marked with observable scars, and an invisible list of 25 years’ worth of scars made on my heart and spirit. However, this “rap sheet” of past pains doesn’t stop me from living. Instead, it encourages me to keep going. If I’ve made it this far, it means pain comes and goes, wounds heal, and I’m one tough girl. If I give in now and allow my scars to hold me back from enjoying life or going on adventures or loving other people, then all scars I’ve accumulated up until now are pointless. But if I keep going, the scars become my life’s fuel, and I will soon run out of fear for things that result in scars.
I have a lot more life to live. I have many more wounds to endure in my future, but I have great certainty that each of those wounds will turn into scars that become lessons. At the end of my life, all my scars will tell the story of my strength, my bravery, and the life I’ve been so blessed to be living. This life is, has been, and will continue to be a life of ups and downs, of love and heartache – and most of all, of wounds that always transform into scars.