Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Scars and Tattoos

Tattoos are quite fashionable these days. Generally, people display them proudly, although I hear that there are some who keep them hidden for special reasons. I imagine that a persons' tats reveal some of what they believe in. I also think that due to life's circumstances, some may feel like they have "outgrown" their tattoos and may decided to have them removed.

Even though I don't have any tattoos, that I'm aware of, I do have a few scars. And while there is plastic surgery to hide scars, there are some that can't be removed by any means. I have a small one on the chin, from when I was two and rolled down the stairs. There are the fading scars from when I was about 13 and a Boy Scout, in the back of my leg from crossing through barb-wire and in my hand, from improperly using an ax (don't ask!). Then there is that nice slice of knee that I got at 15 when I jumped from a steel rack inside a freezer, that one was 20 "stitcher". The most recent scars are from complications from Gastric Bypass and the subsequent lung tube. The scars we wear are a permanent record of our physical suffering.

But there's a different kind of scar, those that are invisible to the naked eye. These are scars that are found in the hearts and minds of the suffering. Some of these injuries can be so deep and can take a lifetime to heal. We have all been hurt at one time or another, as a matter of fact, some of us are hurting right now. Irregardless of where we are, either suffering the pain of an open wound, or the tenderness of the scars, we all need healing. Scars are emotional and spiritual proof of our suffering and it is a shame if we don't derive any wisdom from the experience.

I know that Jesus knows a thing or two about wounds and scars and that he has a lot to teach us about suffering. Sometimes I wonder, why a merciful God can allow suffering, but then I remember that God gave us free will. The Lord is not a puppeteer that constantly intervenes in our lives. In my case, I know that many times my pride prevents me from admitting that I have been wounded. This behavior only makes the healing process longer and the scar, uglier than it has to be. I pray that if you are wounded, you can find it in you, to seek help, to start along the path to healing. May our scars make us one with those who are suffering. May we be a tenth as merciful as our mighty Creator, because of our scars. Amen!

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