Story fascinates me. Every human has a different one and yet we all connect into one big one that means we could never have our story in isolation. Our stories are a weave of family, friends, enemies and experiences. We ‘become’ as each day and moment, the mundane and the marvellous intertwine to create us. I’ve been caught up considering how our scars are story tellers and can be like invitational picture books that entice a story lover to enquire the story of triumph or survival.
I’ve had two of my children require open heart surgery in the first year of their lives. They have matching scar lines right down the centre of their chests. I remember the night before surgery when we bathed them and I watched my husband put his seemingly enormous hand right across their tiny chests, taking in the last time that chest would look like that. I could almost hear my stomach drop and the lump build in my throat amidst the swirl of the surreal moment. We did not want this for them. We did not want them to have a scar. We did not want this to be their story. We wanted that sweet little chest to stay perfect. We learned that life is not always a ‘choose your own adventure’ where you could avoid all suffering. This was a choice of sufferings; surgery or death… which when put like that made the choice pretty clear.
These scars tell a part of their story and with a son who felt clothing was optional in his early years, he had plenty of invitation to tell his story! I overhead him being asked when he was about 4years old for his scar story, and listening in, I heard him share how his mate had been running with scissors and ran into him and, ‘cut me from here up to here!’ Needless to say, we’ve seen them both journey with coming to tell the truth of their story! Of coming to terms with a line on their bodies that shows there was something wrong with them. With future surgeries possible it’s also a reminder that this story can’t be filed away in the history department.
Scars are great reminders of overcoming. They testify of a hard thing that was endured and survived. That you are still standing and living new chapters in some part because of that scar. While the story has unchangeable facts, the meaning of them is up to the owner’s narration which is super important to contemplate. Scars can be seen as a fault, a defect, or a sign of failure at worst, but can equally be a testament of overcoming, courage, endurance and a gift. They are a sign of life lived and important in your unique story.
With Easter approaching and with suffering surrounding this world of ours, I’ve been contemplating Jesus as the suffering servant. I’ve been captured by His scars and particularly that when resurrected in a new heavenly body, He kept His scars. I don’t know about you, but when I think about getting a new resurrection body, I think about one without the flaws and problems of this one! I look forward to fresh and flawless! Yet, here is Jesus, the one and only perfect man, choosing to keep the marks of humanity in his body.
We know Jesus had a new resurrected form. He was not immediately recognised by any that knew Him best. He walked through walls and yet could eat fish. He was resurrected from death yet still had the scars on his hands, feet and side. To Jesus these scars were not the marks of cruel humanity. They were not the marks of failure, defect, or shame. They were the testament of His overcoming love for all mankind. They were proof that sin and death had been triumphed over, once and for all. He did not even choose to temporarily keep them just for proof to the disciples and his followers at the time. Revelation refers to Him as the lamb that was slain showing that when this earth wraps itself up and Jesus returns, He will still be the lamb that was slain. He will still bear in His form, the marks of His most important work. His scars not only tell the story of his past work, but are invitational story books for the curious who still need to know, ‘how did you get those scars?’ and ‘why would you do that for me?’
Those scars are the greatest love story of all time, the greatest rescue mission of this world and the earth shattering truth that God counts you worthy of sacrifice, suffering and is happy to have the scars to prove it. If Jesus can embrace His scars, maybe we can too? Maybe this Easter it’s time to re-narrate your story of scars? The meaning you assign to them is the most important meaning of all. Your meaning is what you’ll tell yourself on repeat every day that you see them or are aware of them, so choose wisely. No matter how you got your scars or who gave them to you, they can testify to a redeeming truth. I didn’t want my kids to have scars, but without those scars I wouldn’t have them, so I am grateful for those scars. They are signs of life to me. Reminders of trials endured and overcome, of strength none of us knew we had. Yet here we are… all living to share our story scars.