Like the stars in the heavens mapped the world for early explorers, like the stars which inspired us to reach beyond this pale earth.
My scars tell a story of growth, of development, and inspire me to reach beyond my imperfect understanding.
I have chicken pox scars scattered over me from head to foot. The easiest to spot are at my wrist and ankles, like little stitch marks as if my hands and feet had been sewn on. I used to call them my Frankenstein scars. I was covered in the sores; I contracted it when I was young enough to scritch and scratch - I've no idea if that made the scars more apparent later. My childhood bouts with chicken pox, measles (both kinds) and mumps gave me strong immunities during my pregnancy, and passed these along to my babies while they still nursed. My scars remind me of how my childhood prepared me to be a mother.
Is that funny wiggle in my eyebrow a chicken pox scar, or a souvenir of my adventurous youth? My mom says that head wounds bleed more than others, and she should know. I was never shy about running or reaching or climbing, and I was a klutz on top of it. In those days, furniture with sharp edges wasn't encased in rubber for the sake of toddlers. In those days, children got the run of the neighborhood, and basement windows had these nifty bricked wells to carry the light. My eyebrow, my chin, my knees, the hidden surface of my scalp underneath my hair, all carry roadmaps of growing up with verve and curiosity. Stories and faint memories of my childhood adventures prepared me for the bumps and scrapes that my sons would collect. My scars remind me of Mommy and Daddy's comforting arms, and gave me strength to comfort my own sons and believe that they too would recover.
A tiny extra line in my palm, courtesy of my only cat, a couple of white dots for puncture wounds, taken in the course of breaking up a puppy fight. These scars remind me that our pets have minds of their own. My sons have grown with a love of their own for animals, and a respect for their occasional emotional outbursts.
Fiery red lines turned silvery white with time. Streaks ripple my belly and remind me of the times it was taut with new life. I was not good at being pregnant. Oh, I followed all the doctors' orders. I didn't gain too much weight, I ate healthy foods, etc. I hated the morning sickness, resented the diet that controlled my temporary diabetes, continually forgot where the new boundaries of my body fell. I loved the squirmy feeling of life moving inside me, however, and I was amazed that a new born could so easily capture my attention. I don't remember any of the details of the first year of life for either of my sons - a blur of sleeplessness, learning to function with only one baby-free arm, a fuzzy miasma of smells, good and bad. But my silvery tummy reminds me of the time spent preparing. The line completely hidden by my flabby belly reminds me of the rush to birth Critter, and of the precious words from Tigger's deliverer "I'm proud of you," after he left the line undisturbed.
The scars from the next phase of my life are visible only in recollection and retelling. The hurt of lost friends who couldn't follow me, even as a spectator, down the path I was taking. The paddlings and piercings and floggings left no external mark. The scars are more subtle. Friends-who-could-have-been, isolated now by the wall of ex-lover. Uncertainty and tentativeness in a relationship which should have been the solid bedrock around which I could build my life; created by my own misguided adventures. Wistfulness, in thinking about what could have been. My hands should be blistered and scarred from the many times I brushed away the possibility of healing.
Sure, I have that red mark that has never faded, from the time I learned what NGU abbreviates. I have those little white marks to remind me of subjection to an earthly master. But my internal scars are more significant.
From carefree youth to reckless adulthood, the map of my scars belies hope. And yet, as the stars beckoned us to reach beyond this earth, my deepest scars brought me back to a God I learned of in my earliest childhood. Brought me back, reaching for what should be out of my reach. He took my anger, He settled my fears, and He cradles me. As my external scars are difficult to see, so are the internal scars fading under the Healer's touch.
This evening, I have a difficult conversation ahead of me. I've been ducking the hard work that's my part of this healing, and I'll be talking to the woman put in my life to lead me in this. First up is an apology for my abuse of her leadership in my life. By not asking for her help, I haven't given her the opportunity to lead me. By ignoring my scars, I've talked myself into believing they were gone. With the help of God, and the leaders He has put into my life, I'll be healing instead of scabbing over.