I like scars.
I don’t mean that I seek them, or want them. But I value them.
They’re not beautiful, but they’re meaningful.
Tonight I read one of the blogs I follow, Bedlam Farm, and I love the way the author wrote about recognizing change in his life, and accepting that he would always be picking up pieces of himself.
I feel that way too.
I haven’t had physical trauma, and in many respects, I’ve escaped a lot of other difficult life experience. But I’ve brushed up against some of life’s fires enough to be singed, to have some scars.
Over time, the scars remind me less of the wound, and more of the overcoming. They become medals in the game of life, testimony to surviving and thriving.
And in time, they fade. They become so faint…or maybe just so familiar?….that I don’t really notice them anymore. They become part of the tapestry of self that makes up each life.
I think that’s why images of elderly people smiling, all wrinkly and worn, are so charming. Those images speak of people who’ve weathered, literally, but also figuratively.
No one gets out without accumulating a few scars along the way.
Like the author of the Bedlam Farm post says, some pieces of self have to continue the process of change, healing and mending.
Somehow that’s reassuring to me.
The thing about the transformation from wound to scar is: it takes time.
Culturally, we get the message in so many ways to “get ‘er done.” “Just do it!” “No excuses!” “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
In certain contexts, I love all these statements, and I’ve used them. But they don’t work in every situation. Sometimes the best I can do is have patience, for my own failings, or for others’.
It’s a fine line, isn’t it, whether to excuse a flaw or give it grace? Whether to accept that some issues resolve and the wound heals over, the scar fades; or to acknowledge that some lessons take a lifetime to learn?
Life teaches the value of scars in unexpected ways.
Once, Riley wrote on a table I loved, carving deep grooves into the soft pine wood…not in any artistic fashion, but with the random and unlovely markings of a toddler.
At first, all I could see was the marring of the table. It wasn’t a thing of beauty any longer.
But after a while, I couldn’t look at those marks without smiling. I knew the scars were innocently put there. Riley had no concept of damaging the table by writing on it.
The longer I lived with her marks on my table, the dearer the piece became.
I think that’s the same process at work with a lot of my life’s scars…they’ve been overlaid with a patina of knowledge, and understanding, and grace. And in a shorter time than would have seemed possible, scars can take on new meaning.
The wounds and wrinkles of life, as much as the triumphs, are marks of authentic living. As we struggle to be, we stretch, we get banged up. Or sometimes someone bangs into us. Sometimes we’re gashed up. If we’re fortunate, in time we heal.
Many of my small battles don’t leave scars. The scratches and bruises of life…the small irritations of my days…they fade, and I don’t remember them.
The deeper wounds that left the scars…well, now I can appreciate them. But I no longer feel the wound. I celebrate the healing.