Scars can be a massive issue. Whether they be the marks of childhood illnesses such as chicken pox or from surviving an attack or fire. Sometimes they are a constant reminder of a battle with self-harm.
Scars can be hard to come to terms with. However they came to be, it can be be painful to be reminded again and again of something which made such a mark on your body, on your soul.
I used to hate my scars. I used to be disgusted by them because for me they represented weakness and I so desperately wanted to be strong. I hated that every day I was reminded of all I had been through, the lengths I had resorted to in order to keep the pain at bay.
I remember very clearly the day I began to see things a little differently. In Chris Cleave’s book “The Other Hand” he writes the following words;
“We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means “I survived”.’
A scar means “I survived”. They were words which jolted right through me. Perhaps, my scars were not as ugly as I thought they were. Perhaps they didn’t mean I was weak. Perhaps, instead my scars were a sign that I had fought. Fought with all my heart and all my mind.
It does not mean to say that I chose healthy coping mechanisms or that I should continue down that dark and difficult path. But it did mean that I could stop punishing myself for my past.
It meant that I could begin to be thankful that it was over. I could be thankful that I was beginning to heal.
Linda Hogan expressed it in the following way:
“Some people see scars and it is the wounding they remember. To me they are proof of the fact they’re healing.”
The past can heal.
That does not mean that the pain ceases to exist. It doesn’t mean that you never have to face up to the pain.
It does mean that we can be freed from shame.
Because of the scars of another. Scars that marked the palms and side of Jesus Christ. Nicholas Wolterstorff wrote
“I shall accept my regrets as part of my life, to be numbered among my self-inflicted wounds. But I will not endlessly gaze at them.”
And so it must be with scars. They will remind us. It might be painful. But it is not the end. We do not have to lose more by gazing at the pain and remembering the shame. Instead we look up and look around, acknowledging where we have been. But not allowing it to stop where we can go.
A scar means “I survived”
A scar means we have a life to live, with all the pain and joy and confusion that life can hold.