It started with an episode of the Magic School Bus and ended with a trip to Urgent Care.
It was last summer, we had just moved to a new city and had minimal resources – a couple new friends and no real knowledge of the area. I had a six month old, 2.5 year old, and 5.5 year old and was still busy trying to find our new normal. In other words: stressed and distracted. Earlier in the week my big kid had watched an episode of the Magic School Bus and there was apparently a science experiment that was so incredible it had to be tried in real life. So my husband set it up.
I was utterly clueless about it all. All I know is one day there was a jar of frozen water in a mason jar in the fridge and my kid said I had to open it. Distracted as I was and not thinking, I grabbed it, and as soon as the seal released BAM! Glass explosion to the hand. I’ll spare you the gory details, but let’s just say there was skin hanging where it shouldn’t be and lots of red everywhere.
Somehow I managed to call my husband home, change the baby’s diaper, get clothes on the kids, and grab the diaper bag all one handed while keeping pressure on the cuts. (The only thing I didn’t do successfully was pull my hair up without looking like I just woke up – apparently there’s always time for humility.) The whole ordeal ended with some decent stitches, Dermabond, and weeks of healing. What’s left is a fear of mason jars and a bumpy scar on my finger.
That was last year and I’ve pretty much forgotten about it most days. But recently, I’ve noticed when I’m putting clothes away or cleaning, I’ll have the finger that was injured tucked in so I can’t use it just like when it was healing. When I realized it, I thought it was so funny. It’s been almost 12 months since it happened, it wasn’t even a huge injury in the grand scheme of things, and it was just a finger and healed well. Yet here I am, instinctively still protecting it.
It made me think of the other wounds I’ve had in my life. I’ve had a c-section, hurts to my heart from broken relationships, broken bones, burns and more. And what I’ve learned from all my injuries and hurts is they change you. Whether big or small, visible or invisible, we come through it different.
The thing with a scar is that it is a permanent memory of suffering. But it’s also a permanent reminder of healing. It’s the tension between what was, what hurt, and what is now. My finger will never be the same after the Ms. Frizzle fiasco. In a way, it’s disfigured. If I hit it too hard, it hurts. But that doesn’t mean healing didn’t happen. Whether from stitches or heartache, scars tell the story of a victoriously healed person. Once a wound is healed, it doesn’t mean things go back to how they were. We are forever changed by suffering and scars, the important thing is whether we let it form us more into the likeness of Christ or not.
When I read the Gospels, I’m struck with condition of the Risen Lord. He’s heavenly, luminous, unearthly, walking through walls …. and bearing the marks of His crucifixion. Even the Savior, victorious over death, bears the marks of the suffering that brought the glory. The Church recognizes the Saints in the same way – the suffering that brought them to heaven is how they are depicted in sacred art. St. Lucy holds her eyeballs on a platter, St. Agnes her breasts, and St. Sebastian holds the swords that pierced him. Heaven is filled with scarred human souls that used their suffering for the glory of God.
Never be ashamed of your scars. Let the healing happen but know that even after healing, things might never be the same. And it’s good. It is so good. Because we have a Father who cares about our wounds enough to use them for our holiness if we let Him. Your suffering matters in the eyes of God, especially if you offer it to Him in love and unite with His Son’s.
Thanks, Ms. Frizzle, for the odd life lessons you’re always so good at teaching.
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us. -Romans 8:18