Several weeks ago, I was with a dear young friend as she received the news from a top notch heart surgeon that her heart was “a mess” and that she could “drop dead at any moment.” Wow. Absolutely everything changed for her in those few seconds. She had lost her Mom too young, and now she feared for her own little boy. It was a privilege to be with her at that doctor’s appointment, standing in her mother’s place, praying for the very frightening journey ahead.
Krista posted this blog, and has given me permission to re-post it for you. I told her that her scars, all of our scars, represent “second chances at life” and that we should wear them proudly.
I am supposed to be grading. And I will, honest. But at the moment, I can’t stop thinking about paper clips.
In the hospital after I had my heart surgery, the first thing I noticed was the feeling of having a brand new pacemaker just under my skin. It was like having a little cell phone in a skin pocket; I thought it might pop out at any moment. The second thing I noticed was the scar.
A few months on, and I almost don’t feel the pacemaker at all anymore. The scar is getting a little smaller, and the red color is fading a bit. But it’s still there, and now that I’m transitioning into warm weather clothes, it’s getting harder to hide. It’s pretty high up on my chest towards the middle, and is only hidden well by turtlenecks and extremely high necked tops–easy to cover in winter, a little less so in tank top season.
So as I was choosing my wardrobe today, I picked a nice black and white sleeveless top with a cute little white shrug sweater, which did not hide the scar. I covered it up with makeup, but that didn’t quite work either. I was teaching today, and the last thing I wanted was for my students to see my scar and spend all their time thinking about it rather than my class material–they’re distracted enough as it is. So, being that I was already in the office by this point, I resourcefully thought about using paper clips to affix the tank top to other garments in such a way that it would sufficiently cover that dang pacemaker scar. And it worked!
I taught the class, pleased with myself for figuring out a creative solution to my scar problem. And then I thought about Jesus. And about how he hung out with scarred people–people whose scars couldn’t be hidden by paper clips. People so scarred that their scars ended up on him. And I’m one of them. Not because of my little pacemaker mark, but because of the deep gashes caused by my own wounds, self-inflicted and caused by others. Jesus still hangs out with me. Jesus isn’t distracted by them.
I know I’ve just gone from the world of reality to the world of metaphor. There’s a difference between visible scars and invisible ones. But not a huge one. I wonder what scars I creatively conceal as I’m mentally preparing for work, for social events, for church. We all do it; it’s normal. But wouldn’t it be great if we were a little less embarrassed by those invisible scars, especially around our friends, family, church folks? God isn’t embarrassed. Jesus still wants to hang out with us.
I still may use paper clips to cover up that scar from time to time…but I’m going to try not to be embarrassed by my scars. I’m going to try to let them be there, and if someone seems preoccupied with them, I might talk about them. There are scars to be proud of–my mother had scars from her C-sections, which she got giving birth to my brother and me. I’ll bet she was proud of those. I’m still alive because of my pacemaker scar. Those of us who follow Christ, especially during this Lenten season, remember that his scars make us free. Maybe we shouldn’t be so embarrassed about ours…