Sacred Scars

I love my scar. As mentioned in my introductory tumblr post, I suffered a hand injury last November. Now that I’ve past the six-month mark, it’s time to reflect.

November fifteenth started out as a relaxing, low-key day, and my husband and I decided it would be nice to have someone over for dinner. After several tries, and a nagging feeling that maybe God just wanted us to have a low-key evening to finish up our low-key day, we decided to call one more family.

Much to our delight, they were free! I threw together some soups, (apple and butternut squash, chicken and rice, and something else) and we prepared for our guests. They were a family of eight, so we had to put up the leaves of our old wooden table.

We got through dinner without any problem. Finished with my soup, I leaned my elbow on the drop leaf of our table to listen to the conversation. With a slam and a scream, the evening changed. Clued in that something was wrong by the shriek of the young girl sitting next to me, I looked down at my hand. Blood was streaming down it. Instinctively, I rushed to the sink and pressed paper towels to my hand. “I think I need to go to the hospital.” With those words, I knew that this was serious, but I couldn’t imagine how hard it was going to be.

On November seventeenth I had a three hour surgery that repaired my artery, median nerve, and five tendons. I started physical therapy at Good Shepard on November nineteenth and have been focusing on recovering and relearning how to use my hand ever since.

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But the healing of my hand is minimal compared to what God was doing in my soul. Mid-December through Mid-February was a painful period of depression and hopelessness. It was taking much longer than I wanted to regain usage of my hand, and I began to despair that I’d ever be right-handed again.

My most powerful memory, an image in my hand that I want to draw someday, is of the many days that I lay stretched out on my carpet, waiting for someone to arrive to help me with some task to drive me somewhere, crying out to God. Words were beyond me. Doing life was beyond me. Getting up off the carpet seemed as impossible as discerning the questions that I kept asking God. Why? Are you going to heal me? How do I keep going on? What if my hand is never functional again?

Thanks to God’s healing work and the amazing therapists at Good Shepard, my hand is functional. It still has limitations, and probably always will, but I can honestly say that I am thankful for the experience. The trial did two things for me.

Once the stitches were removed and the scar had formed, I had a physical connection to the reality of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. Having been raised in the Church my whole life, the thorns, the cross, and the nails were so familiar to me that they had lost much of their significance. Now, when I look at my scar, I think about how Jesus’ death happened. He was really nailed to the cross, and he was nailed for me.

Getting a physical reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice would be blessing enough to be able to say, “God worked this trial out for my good”, but another blessing was that wrestling with God through the suffering of my hand injury helped prepare me for the suffering of my dear friend’s suicide, a trial I am still working through.

Through the first month or two after my accident, I tried to post a list of things I was thankful for or things I had learned every day. There were so many gifts and lessons, but they can all be boiled down to two: I know that Jesus’ suffered for me and I know that He redeems suffering. And that’s why I love my scar and why I consider it sacred.

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