Ah, the familiar feeling of the click, clack of the keyboard underneath my eager writer’s fingers. It’s been a bit and as I sat down tonight with my hot drink and my acoustic music on in the background, a soft smile of anticipation and excitement made its way to my face.
Oh, how life continues to change. Isn’t it odd? You wake up one day and the path you were on is one you realized was not yours to walk. If you’re anything like me, you look around, puzzled. Uh, what the hell? is typically my response. Hey, God? I had this planned out, man. This? Well, this is not what I had planned. God probably smirks, nodding, saying, “No, sweet, neurotic child of mine, it’s not.” I continue to look at him, puzzled. He whispers, “This is better,” before He gives me a loving push onto a different path. If you know me, you know I don’t go easily. I stomp my feet. I clench my fists. I cry. I swear. I dig my heels in. This is what I wanted, God.
Sometimes when I have a kiddo in therapy that’s not listening or is acting like this, I simply sit back and tell them, “You let me know when you’re ready.” I know that’s what God does with me. “Oh, Danielle,” He says as He leans back in his cool, Tommy Bahama beach chair. “You let me know when you’re ready.”
It’s been an interesting season of life for me. The other night I was on the phone with a friend. We had jumped down a bit of a rabbit hole in our conversation, working through just some life things. At some point in the conversation, he frustratingly and jokingly asks, “So how do I fix this!?” I’m sure I made a sarcastic comment of sorts initially but it was followed by something along the lines of him not needing to be “fixed”.
As an Enneagram One, I have very high expectations for myself. Often I am looking at what needs to be better about me, not where I’m at or where I’m already doing well. It’s exhausting being a One and constantly searching for perfection. If you’ve followed this blog for a bit, you know for the past year my focus has been on “healing”. Oh, how my Enneagram One personality hijacked that journey and turned it into me striving for the “perfect” way to heal.
I found myself frustrated today, feeling things I thought I had “healed” from. So I did what any sane person does and began talking myself through this on my drive home. Anyone else? No? Only one who talks to myself while I drive? Awkward. Moving on.
I thought about what healing looked like to me. What does it look like? What does it feel like? How does one achieve healing? I had to turn it into a metaphor. I needed it to click in my brain. I put emotional scars and physical scars side by side. Allow me to walk you through this.
Something happens and we get a flesh wound, right? When I was younger, I was riding my bike and fell, cutting the side of my leg on a small brick wall. Okay, it left a big scab. Ouch. So I cried, went to my dad, and he cleaned it up. Okay, the wound is clean and we throw a bandage on top of it. Excellent. If you have aunts like mine, this scab was picked at a bit at your next family gathering, but for the most part it’s left alone. You’ll bump it every so often and it stings, but as time goes on and your body does its job, the sting becomes less painful and more of a subtle irritation. Don’t forget, you’re also supposed to expose it a bit. If you leave the bandage on too long, it doesn’t necessarily heal as quickly. Then one morning, seemingly out of nowhere, you wake up and find you forgot it was there. Ah, but you’re not off the hook just yet! There’s a beautiful scar left behind. It’s a story. It’s a reminder of moments. When I look at this scar, which is really only when I shave my legs and let’s be honest, that doesn’t happen often here in Indiana, I remember my childhood home and looking up from across the street to see my dad checking on me. I remember the moment I saw him and began to cry. I remember him meeting me on the corner across the street from our house, examining the damage and telling me it’ll all be okay. Well, he probably asked if we needed to cut my leg off before comforting me but that’s beside the point.
Are you still with me? Yes? Excellent! Let us continue. We let physical scars heal. We’re told if we pick at them and irritate them, it’ll only make things worse. It’ll take longer for it to heal. The scar will be deeper. Why in the world don’t we apply that to our emotional scars? I don’t know how any of you “heal” from emotional wounds but I’ll gladly tell you how I attempt to heal from mine.
It happens and I clean it up by venting and crying. Phew, after some tears and some words, the wound seems to be cleaned up a bit. I let it sit for a day, two days if I’m feeling gracious. I examine the wound, wondering how the hell it hasn’t healed yet. My brow furrows, my fists clench, and my mind begins to plan. How can I heal this? I ask myself. So I pick at it. I yell at it. Heal, dammit! I walk up to my friends, shamefully and frustratingly pointing to it saying, “Look! It still isn’t healed! What do I do?” I carry this around, poking at it, trying random healing balms on it that I got from some hippy-dippy website. I quickly become all the more frustrated that it isn’t fixed.
Ugh, forget it, I say to myself at one point. I frantically search for a bandage and slap it on. Done! I brush my hands off and proudly walk away, happy to no longer have to look at that gross wound of mine. Oh, but life isn’t that simple. The bandage is always ripped off, be it by someone else or your own hand. What are we left with? A wound that never healed because it was never given the chance to. It wasn’t open and left alone long enough. The hardest part of healing is sitting in it and letting nature take its course. Well, letting God take His course.
For me, it’s hard to sit because I hate sitting and not being proactive, but also because I feel this need to be healed. I’m learning, mainly through trial and error, it’s not about being healed. It’s about knowing and recognizing the story behind the scars of our lives.
My dad always said scars are one of the sexiest things on a woman. It means they weren’t afraid to live. Phew, let’s hope that’s true because this girl has plenty, emotional and physical. I can tell you the story behind the scar on my chest or the one across my shin. I have one on my wrist from Luke Paramo’s nail cutting me during a PE class in middle school. Oh, the stories the marks on this body of mine could tell.
Our emotional scars are the same and infinitely more beautiful. That scar right there that brings up this fear? That’s from losing my mom. That one right here? Oh, man. That one is from a time when I loved someone so deeply and took a crazy chance on life with him. This one? Ah, yes. That’s from those words my high school friend said to me that broke my heart.
Once there’s a wound, whether we like it or not there’s a scar. The skin never returns to exactly the way it was before. Isn’t that such good news? How boring would it be if we never changed and a scar didn’t form? No stories to tell! No experiences to share!
We fight against these wounds so fiercely, not realizing that one day these will be the stories we tell to our children. They’ll be the stories we tell with a twinkle in our eye when someone asks us how we met our spouse. They’ll tell of the people we’ve lost. They’ll be kind reminders of the ones that loved us through a time when we were hurting. They’ll be the reminders in our relationships that sometimes we proceed a little cautiously or react a little dramatically because we were once wounded. You know what they all say? “This one is from a time when God pulled me through.”
These scars aren’t things to be fixed or rushed. These scars are to be displayed, for they speak of our resilience, our love, our heart. They speak of transformation. They speak of triumph. More than anything, though, they speak proudly of our God.