Sunday, April 8, 2018

in defense of scars





Maybe you’re not supposed to get over it. Some things you can’t move past. They scar you. Change you permanently.”

~Agent Mae to Coulson on TV’s “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD”

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If you can be still a suffer awhile, you shall without a doubt see the help of God come in your need.”

~Thomas A. Kempis, Imitation of Christ

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Death is meant to indelibly scar our hearts because love is meant to wound us in that way.”
~Ron Rolheiser,
"Dying into safe hands."

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For the past few weeks (yes, from the end of Lent and into the Easter season), I have been discovering, little by little, the album Evergreen” by Audrey Assad.

I find her lyrics quite compelling – and today, as I ponder the Gospel where Thomas says out loud that he needs to see Christ’s wounds, it is the beginning of Assad’s song, “When I See You,” that speaks to my heart:

You have loved me well, in a million ways
But my wounds are all I know
So I turn my head, and I hide my face
Too afraid to come back home

But all of the doors swing open
When I see You, when I see You
You make my heart unbroken
When I see You, when I see You
And I come undone, I come undone!


Every one of us is broken, wounded, and scarred in some way. This is, after all, a sign of truly living, of giving, and of dying for others on this our earthly pilgrimage. 

The scars left in me and on me by each wound, mark my life and define my spiritual journey. I would not be who I am today without each one of these marks, these scars.

This is reason enough to sing Alleluia on this second Sunday of Easter, don’t you think?

But our wounds not only tell our story. They also connect us to one another as the Body of Christ. Every one of my scars, visible or internal, can be– if I let them— a sign of mercy and an avenue for genuine compassion for others in their suffering.

Yes, I can speak to you of brokenness, because I, too, have been broken. I have felt despair. I have known unspeakable loneliness. I have walked the way of hopelessness.

Satan, the great deceiver, wants us to drink the Kool-Aid of fear and despair, the lie that says that no one can truly understand me, or my woundedness. Don’t believe it!

That which is most personal is also the most universal. Our personal suffering can and does unite us.

My friend Carrie, who fought until her last breath for more time on this earth in order to mother her young children as long as possible, described the gift of her scars this way.

The marks on her body, Carrie explained to me, was her road map, “a map I hope leads me to eternal life!”

In reality, Carrie and her scars were, and continue to be, a light post leading all of us to heaven. And I have no doubt that her suffering prayers on behalf of others as she walked through that pain, carried many people through their sorrowful journey.

Although I cannot take your pain away, I can walk with you—just as Christ, with all His visible wounds, walks with us.

In the words of my friend and retired pastor, Fr. Thomas Boyer, “As John tells the story, Jesus comes with his wounds, because a risen Lord with no wounds would not have much to say to the wounded people in that room or anywhere else… new life comes from these broken places, and this is resurrection; and it is a call to go, be broken and suffer a bit for the sake of another. 







ps. photos of Chihuly exhibit at Oklahoma City Museum of Art