“How do you feel about scars?” The nurse asks.
“I’m ok with scars.” I reply but wonder if it’s true.
I’m sitting in an exam room at a medical clinic getting stitches out of my right index finger. Two weeks earlier I’d sliced my finger open badly and had to venture out into this ongoing pandemic to be stitched up.
The nurse continues saying that there’s an effective but pricey scar remedy I can purchase at any local pharmacy. I thank her for the information but don’t stop at the pharmacy on my way home.
Once home I strip off the clothes I’d worn to the medical office and immediately take a shower to reduce the possibility that I’d brought the COVID-19 virus home with me.
In the shower, I ponder my scar - bumpy and pink. New skin learning to become a part of me. New skin I’m learning from. A lesson in being present with the pain and change. And also a lesson in being more careful when handling aluminum cans.
Recently, I’ve been considering the unseen scars. The things we heal from that have no external wound. The wounds whose healing is only witnessed by our own souls and the healing that was only possible by our own courage and tenacity. Those scars are tender reminders of not only our determination and vulnerability but also a reminder that there is space for us to continue to heal and grow.
I was in an abusive relationship when I was 16. I was manipulated and my naiveté taken advantage of. I wanted to be loved and I bent my being into the shape I was told was most loveable. It took months to leave, months to see this wasn’t love, months to be courageous enough to believe in my own worth. I was 17 when I finally ended it. A child in many respects. And it took another 16 years to unravel and heal from the wounds I had acquired.
When my best friend Lisa died, the agony of her death cracked me open and pain I’d numbed for years toppled out of me. For over a year I regularly felt my skin prickle & heart race with the intense feelings I’d run from for half of my life. It was losing Lisa that propelled me toward restoring my emotional health. Out of great anguish came incredible healing.
The scar on my hand isn’t pretty, but I’ve found that healing rarely is. It’s messy and uncomfortable...until it isn’t. Until it’s light and air and freedom.
The nurse asked a deeper question than she realized. Did I mind the scar? I don’t think so.
The unseen scars will never get their day in the sun so I’ll let this scar feel the sunlight tan its pink skin for the first time and the wind blow gently across delicate new beginnings. And as I soak in the sun and am comforted by the breeze I’ll remember I am infinitely capable of being healed and loved and brave.
I love you and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it,