I have a small mark on my forearm I got using sharp blades while emptying out a diaper pail. Trust me, long story for another time. But ten years later, I still have the scar. It’s small now and nearly invisible, really just a clear line on my skin. The scar doesn’t hurt. I don’t have to avoid that area. At this point, it’s really no more than a distant memory of one morning when I was sleep deprived and careless.
Bruises are another story. When I have a bruise, I can’t use that part of my body. I avoid that part of me. And have you ever noticed that when you have a bruise, everyone bumps into it? Casual touch that normally wouldn’t phase me suddenly hurts. The wound feels sore and tender. My boys cause me pain when all they are trying to do is hug me. I have to give it special treatment and cover it over.
Funny how hard times become either scars or bruises. Scars are just the memory of pain that has long passed. But when we are bruised up, we have to spend time babying that injury. We cover it over and try not to use that part of us. We reorient our lives so that we won’t have to use that muscle that took the pain. And others, especially those we share life with, are the ones most likely to bump into it.
Like an old country song goes, “I’ve got bruises on my memories.” And I never know when someone is going to bump my pain. Like my son’s orthodontist who asked me if I had ever had braces. I had to say I started the treatment but never finished and gloss over the fact that my parents got divorced half way through the process, so the money for braces dried up. Suddenly my heat aches afresh for all the loss being from a broken home causes.
Maybe this is why even after the resurrection, Jesus’ body still had the scars from his awful execution. Those scars couldn’t hurt Jesus anymore and instead proved how very much Jesus loves us. I want Jesus to turn my bruises into scars. My experiences can’t be changed. There’s no going back. But scars are only memories of pain with no teeth. All that is left is the experience, not the emotion. And if the scars are still around, so are we. We’ve lived long enough to see how “it came to pass.” The pain is over, and all that’s left is a great story told by the person who passed through it.
Jesus, take all of my bruises and turn them into scars. Make me fearless when I need to share the stories of how I got those scars and how You carried me through the pain. Amen.