Featured In The 2007 July Issue of Good Housekeeping!
You may keep your Mederma — I like my scars. I don’t try to hide them because they tell the story of who I am. My many scars are evidence that I have not spent my life on the sidelines and that I am an “experiential learner”- which is a polite way of saying that I have to learn things the hard way. My scars remind me that God built me with the will to persist and overcome and heal and be the better for it. They remind me that the story of my life is still unfolding and that there will undoubtedly be more scars to come.
Scars of Inexperience. The first scar that I ever got is one that I don’t even remember. It runs from the base of my middle finger on my right hand and around to the front stopping just short of my knuckle. My mom tells me that when I was two, I was carrying a glass and fell on it. The glass broke and nearly sliced my finger off. Now that I am the mother of a two-year-old myself, it’s not hard to imagine what a day in hell that must have been for her. That scar makes me appreciate what it must have been like for her to try to parent a child who was oblivious to her own limitations.
I have another “learning” scar under my chin that I got when I was a teenager. It came as the result of a very bad spill I took when I was figure skating. That scar hides in a little fold that is promising to become a double chin. When I pull stubborn little hairs out of it, I am reminded of a hard won victory of mastering a difficult jump and the satisfaction that was the reward for persistence.
Scars of Stupidity. I have a three-inch scar that runs down my right thigh. When I was 16, I had a job at a drug store. My job was to remove the old price stickers with a razor blade and replace them with new price stickers. No surprise, the razor blade slipped and sliced cleanly through my pants and into my fleshy upper thigh. I still remember the look on the pharmacists face when I came hobbling towards the back bleeding profusely out of the side of my pants.
I also have a scar that runs around the tip of my left index finger where I nearly cut it completely off with a pair of pruning shears while doing yard work. I remember the hand surgeon saying incredulously, “You mean to tell me you did this to yourself?” Those scars remind me that there is no limit to my stupidity and it’s probably only a matter of time before I end up on one of those videos.
Scars of Misfortune. I have a three-inch scar that runs horizontally at the base of my throat where a surgeon relieved me of my cancerous thyroid when Sean was about eight months old. My mom came to Texas and took over for me with Sean while I went through the long recovery and isolation that is required with radiation. I also have a one-inch scar on my groin where a surgeon, whose face I never saw, extracted my badly misbehaving appendix. This happened not too long after I had been widowed and was alone. A girlfriend physically carried me to her car and took me to the hospital. When I woke up the next morning, she was sitting next to my hospital bed praying over me. Those scars remind me that life can come crashing down on you in the blink of an eye and that a friend can make all the difference.
A Scar of Blessing. And then there is the mother of all scars – the one that put an end to my bikini days but was the beginning of a life far better than any day at the beach. When I look at it, I recall the day that Sean was pulled from the safe haven of my body and into this world where he would begin the story of his own life. And collecting his own scars.