Scars - Monday Musing, February 22, 2021
Scars. We all have them. Many people hide their scars, believing they are ugly. Some people embrace them as a badge of honor, proof of having survived an ordeal. Scars are not always physical; they can be visible or invisible, emotional or spiritual. Physical scars result from the biological process of wound repair in the skin; thus, it is a natural part of the healing process. Scars may mark us, but they should not define us or break us. Wounds may do that, but not scars – there is a difference between the two.
A wound is the result of an injury, a painful experience. Wounds hurt and demand immediate attention. Wounds are open and still healing; they are fresh and raw. In time, a wound becomes a scar – a tangible memory that says, “I have learned from that experience and I choose not to go there again.” Our scars can be a balm that brings healing to those in pain. Wounds do not have that power.
We began our Lenten journey on Ash Wednesday reading Psalm 51: “Generous in love—God, give grace! Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record. Scrub away my guilt, soak out my sins in your laundry.” (vs. 1-2, The Message). We prayed to God to cleanse our guilt and offer us pardon. We asked for our wounds to be healed. But we know our scars will remain. And perhaps that’s okay so long as the experience does not defeat us.
Lent is the time of reflection and re-examination of our life and our faith. But it should not be a time of beating ourselves up and re-opening wounds we thought were scarred over and healed. Our scars do not make us weak, so maybe we need a visible reminder that shows we are human and have survived the wounds of our past.
If you are struggling with something – an addiction, grief over losing a loved one, a difficult relationship, sadness – who do you go to for help? You are probably going to go to the person you know who has overcome (survived) their own wounds, struggles, and made it successfully to the other side. They can show you their scars as proof that they made it through, so you can too. Scars remain as identifying marks of the God who transforms our pain into restorative love.
The healing process from open wound to scar doesn’t happen overnight. There is no timeline, no 40-day Lenten window in which this work can be wrapped up neatly with the expectation that all is healed in the end. For some perhaps, but for most healing is still a work in progress.
May your wilderness wanderings this Lenten season bring you to that place where you find healing, scars and all.