My old back injury from a hiking trip was acting up again. I repositioned my arm so that my elbow wasn’t bent because my fingers go numb when my arm isn’t straight. In my brief moment of paralysis, I laid staring at my husband, still sound asleep. I noticed the scars on his hands from an inline skating accident.
Scars bring memories, good and bad. Now we could attempt to go through life in a bubble, never risking the pain of a scar. After all, you are certain not to fall off a bike if you refuse to ride one. But then again, you will never know that feeling of freedom the wind in your hair brings as you reach speeds that allow you to let go of the handle bars and raise your hands in the air.
All at once, I realized something pretty cool: Our scars tell a story, and that story is not unlike the one that love tells.
Love brings pain—children rebel, spouses disappoint, parents fail. Because you love, you also hurt. But to avoid the pain is to avoid love altogether.
We certainly should not strive to create scars in an effort to induce an exciting life. By all means, avoid trouble, but when you meet it, don’t let it dictate your future. I have some scars on my body that I really don’t want. There is nothing comforting about my aching tooth. It’s a problem because I didn’t take care of my teeth the way I should have. But I also know every scar can teach us something.
The painful scars that lost love can bring are torturous. It’s easy to avoid the ache of a broken heart by avoiding love. But like our ailing bodies, the scars that can come with love are a testimony to a fullness of life, and there is always something to learn from them. Even the particularly painful ones can turn into something beautiful with the proper perspective.
Our bodies tell a story of a life full of, well, life. Our mistakes, as well as our triumphs, are indeed a story. Suffering is not something we should seek out or inflict on ourselves. But when it inevitably comes into our lives, we should not hide from the lessons it seeks to teach us.
Pain in our lives doesn’t have to define us. It’s up to you how you wear your scars. Love much and live above your scars. Make your story matter.