The Beauty Of Scars

Over the course of the last decade, I’ve had four surgeries, one of which was to heal a potentially life-threatening problem. I have scars from all four of them, deep scars that burrow into the core of my body. And while they have faded a bit over the years, they are still visible. And, from time to time, I can still feel them. For whatever reason, I’ll turn a particular way, or lift something, or sometimes even just sit down, and something will pull, something will pinch, something will tighten, deep in my abdomen, and I’ll wince in pain. From what I’ve been told by others who have had similar surgeries, I will deal with these pains and these scars for the rest of my life, although they will get better as time passes.

Emotionally, things are the same – things from years gone by have left their mark on my heart. A lot of them are related to false views of myself that I accepted from others while growing up. Some are a result of things people said or did, or because of mistakes that I made. But whatever their origin, just like with my surgery scars, there are times that something will happen that triggers a memory of the past – something I see, something I hear, something someone says. When that happens, my heart winces in pain and I instinctively pull back, retreat, from the source of the pain, whether it was caused intentionally or accidentally. I know that these scars, too, will be with me for life, although they will get better as time passes.

No matter what their cause, scars sometimes hurt. Physical or emotional, we all carry these reminders of things from the past. While we may not all struggle with the same things, none of us are alone in our struggles with what’s happened. Most of us cover them up. Some of us deal with them. The hardest thing can be being honest with others that we love, confessing our scars, our pains, our fears, our flaws and imperfections. Because with that honesty comes the realization that we aren’t perfect, the confession that we do have scars can bring with them the fear that we will be rejected because of them.

However, far from being only ugly reminders of the past, there is healing and beauty that is associated with scars.

Physically, scars are the evidence that, while some trauma has happened in the past, our body has recovered, has begun to move on and move forward. And while the evidence of the past still remains to some extent, the ugliness of what happened becomes less over time. Healing can be a slow process, but it is one that God designed.

Emotionally, the scars we bear are evidence that we live in a fallen world. No matter their cause, the fact that there are scars on our hearts means that healing has taken place. Just like with physical healing, emotional healing can be a slow process, but it is also one that God designed.

Whether physical or emotional, scars may be reminders of the past, but they provide hope for the future, a reminder that, while something traumatic has happened in the past, healing is underway. And in that way, they are beautiful.