My hunch is that if you are more than a few days old, you do. And you probably remember when and how you came by them. Surgeries leave them. Scrapes too. Accidents cause them. It’s living mostly. And not always recklessly. But merely moving about, engaging others and the world which we all are blessed to call home.
We can take measures to minimize the scars. Even go to the extreme of having them eliminated. As if we placed a higher premium on perfection! Personally, I prefer the stories. The stories say a lot about who we are. I have a scar on the bridge of my nose because I tried to navigate the steps of our front porch when I was young. But I had my eyes closed. I wondered what it was like to be blind. Caught the cap atop the end of the iron railing between my eyes!
Scars are of course not always physical. Living affords its emotional wounds as well. Those scars say a lot about who we are too. They point to the risks we have taken, the love we have given, the paths we have journeyed. All scars remind us that we are human. And alive. And beautiful.
Earlier this month I received a daily devotion filled with the words of Rachel Naomi Remen. Her thoughts are comforting, inspiring. And they are about the marks of life we all bear. She writes,
In Japan, Zen gardeners purposefully leave a fat dandelion in the midst of the exquisite, ritually precise patterns of the meditation garden. In Iran, even the most skilled of rug weavers includes an intentional error, the ‘Persian Flaw,’ in the magnificence of a Tabriz or Qashqai carpet. And Native Americans wove a broken bead, the ‘spirit bead,’ into every beaded masterpiece. [So] when life weaves a spirit bead into your very fabric, you may stumble upon a wholeness greater than you had dreamed possible before.”
If you’d like to read more of her words, that quote is from My Grandfather’s Blessings; Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging published in 2001 by Riverhead Books. And if you’d like others to know more of who you are, tell the stories of your scars. But surrender your quest for perfection as you do. As Remen writes, “The marks life leaves on everything it touches transform perfection into wholeness.” And we know which God values more… wholeness. It’s the Hebrew concept of shalom: peace, completeness, fullness. In other words, life lived beauty-fully in the grip of grace!