It was not a particularly unique day…just an ordinary spring morning – crisp but not cold, with a new-dirt smell in the air and birds waking from their slumber. The kind of morning when you can feel winter slipping away as summer waits in the gentle breeze. I had been puttering in the yard for the better part of an hour, then sat down on the porch step for to survey what needed to be done. The whole time I had been talking about the day ahead and days gone by – nothing really important, just an everyday conversation. Prayer can be like that sometimes; casual, comfortable…restful.
Before too long, as often happens between good friends, we began to share things in a bit more personal way. On this morning, we began to share wound stories and to compare some of the scars that went with them. I showed him the one on my right heel that is now callused over; I had stepped on some broken glass when I was 5 years old which shattered inside when it hit the bone and infected the marrow. I showed him how my right thumb nail is kind of split from the time that I smashed it in a car door. I showed him the thin line from just behind my right ear down under my jaw. This is where I had some glands removed for testing. I then showed him the 12 inch scar stretching from the left side of my spine to just about the middle of my left side. This was the most difficult story to tell; I had half of my left lung removed about 12 years ago due to a rare form of lung cancer. I explained to him that these are signs to me of healing…after all, scars do show where we’ve been healed, right? I don’t look at them as blemishes or ugly things but as markers and memories of what I’ve been healed from.
Then he began to share some of his stories and show some of his scars. There was one behind his left ear where a bully on the bus had hit him. There was another on the back of his head, a small round patch where his dad had once pulled his hair a little too hard and some of it came out. He also had a severely deformed left bicep muscle – all twisted and pock-marked and thick-skinned. He shared how he had once been learning how to back up a tractor and his foot slipped as he was turning to look behind. He had fallen off…the giant tractor tire rolled over his arm, just missing his head.
As he was going through his list I could not help but be amazed at how he and I had similar stories. I had been bullied on the bus…my dad had pulled my hair out several times…a tractor nearly crushed me under its wheel. All of the things that he was sharing I had experienced as well – but I didn’t have any of the scars to show. At one point I interrupted him and commented on how strange it was that we had gone through the same things. He looked at me out of the corner of his eye with a kind of questioning glance and then turned his head toward mine and looked me straight in the eye and said, “Just as your scars show where you’ve been healed, my scars show where you were healed too.”
I sat there engulfed again in the sudden realization of who my friend really was and what He went through…for me. I am often so quick to forget that my friend is also my savior and just how much he has saved me from. As I sat there in wonder as he lifted his shirt and showed me his side…and then showed me his hands…and also pulled back some of his hair revealing a ring of scars. I could not help but notice as He was going through these motions that there were some bandages still covering his chest right above his heart. I asked him why they were there and he paused for a moment then nudged a little closer to me and put his arm around my shoulder and pulled me close. With a piercing yet patient voice and said, “Those wounds haven’t quite healed yet…I’m still waiting for you to let go.”