The First Scar
Back in the early 1980’s there was a young girl sitting in a hospital bed far from her rural home. Her mother was sitting with her during the day and her father would come to keep her safe at night. She had her pink bunny and a bouquet of flowers that looked like a strawberry milkshake wishing her well from her kindergarten class. The surroundings confused her…why did she have to have another surgery on her neck? She knew that this time her scar would be even bigger and uglier. The doctor chuckled that he may even put in a zipper. She didn’t like this idea.
As she grew, her scar became a badge of shame–she couldn’t hide it. Her grandpa looked at it often and asked if it would ever go away. She had to tell the story time and time again even when she didn’t know the meaning of the words “cyst” and “thyroid”. No, she wasn’t attacked by a knife-wielding madman. No, she hadn’t tried to hang herself.
A crush told her that he couldn’t date her openly because the scar disgusted him, but he’d be willing to watch movies at his house with her if she didn’t tell anyone.
Her scar had become her shame. A badge of ugliness that she couldn’t ever cover or remove…a burden that she carried.
The Next Generation
Many years later, this girl grew into a woman and had an amazing daughter of her own. Perfect at birth but soon she was rushed to hospital with so many infections that her life was in danger. With each new complication, a new scar was embedded on the daughter’s perfect body. The mom spent her days and nights in the hospital crying and begging God for her daughter’s life.
Eventually the healing began and the surgeries ended. Her daughter grew into a smart, healthy young woman. Her scars were rarely seen and she had no shame in them. She was too young to remember the stories and too brilliant to carry the shame. However, her mom carried the weight of the scars for both of them.
Wisdom Beyond Her Years
Swimsuit season came around. While shopping, the daughter modeled for her mom the perfect suit. It was spectacular, but you can see the scars. Who cares, Mom? The flames of truth finally burst before her. These weren’t scars of shame. These were battle wounds–proof that this girl was at the brink of death twice but she fought and came back. Her prayers had been answered by these very scars. These were badges of strength, of love, and of great beauty. The mom leaned in and kissed the scars on her daughter’s back and released herself from the burden of shame she had carried all those years.
Moms, our scars are our hard-earned stories. Embrace the narrative of your being! The stories of life, of adventures (or mis-adventures), of battles fought must be told to our children so that their inevitable scars won’t be burdens. Rather, let them be celebrations of life! The scar on my neck has faded and few ask me the story anymore. However I have added many more in its place because I have loved and I have lived and I have healed.