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Cherishing your scars

Joe Bunting wrote a blog post about scars. He quoted Stephen King: “The only requirement to be a writer, is the ability to  remember every scar.” And while that may be good for writers, it’s not always healthy for the rest of humans. The fact is, God put in us an amazing ability to fo…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Joe Bunting wrote a blog post about scars. He quoted Stephen King: “The only requirement to be a writer, is the ability to  remember every scar.”

And while that may be good for writers, it’s not always healthy for the rest of humans.

The fact is, God put in us an amazing ability to forget and to cope with pain. Physiologically, when pain becomes too intense, we go into shock as a means of coping.

Psychologically, when the pain is too great, we have a mechanism that psychologists call “disassociating.” We take the incident and put it in a hermetically sealed place somewhere beyond the reach of our conscious mind.

My daughter Estie told me about some of the horrible things she witnesses as a nurse – children whose parents have prostituted them, for example.

The pain and the scarring is so intense, the subconscious locks it away. But the scary thing is, if you take those pieces of yourself and lock them away, it can lead to psychosis. Your survival mechanism may invite schizophrenia.

The paradox is that to heal, we need to remember. But dwell too much on the pain and you’ll never heal. We need both remembering and forgetting. And most especially, we need to cherish our scars.

One of Joe’s readers, a lady identifying herself as MLA, shared her own horrific scar in a comment, “When people ask me if I have any children I smile and say no. But in my heart I know differently. I know I have a little girl that I aborted 18 years ago. I often wonder what she would look like as she grew up. How would my life have changed if I made a different choice? Where would I be today?”

MLA may have been tempted to forget the scar that is her daughter, to hide that memory away, far from reach. But that wouldn’t have been the best thing.

Instead, MLA chose to cherish her scar, to embrace and grieve the part of her she lost. “It’s easy to look back and regret, and stay there,” she says, “but I don’t regret who I have become. I know that decision wasn’t the end of my story, but the beginning. We still get to chose to heal, to find freedom.”

What scars in your life have you hidden? Do you need to cherish a scar so that you can move on?

Comments (4)

  • As a former cutter your title caught my attention. The end of this month will be five years since I last cut (I’ve kind of considered throwing a party). I look back and see years spent dwelling on the pain that comes from rejection and family secrets. I’m finally learning how to take those things, remember them, take an honest look and give them to God.

    But I do agree for writing purposes that you have to be able to go to those places and bring the struggles and emotion to paper (or screen technically). It connects to people because we all have scars, just not everyone’s scars are visible to the naked eye.

  • This is beautiful, Seth. Thanks for this.

    I need to cherish scars of not being accepted. You think these things go away until they pop up again in unexpected areas of your life.

  • While I could sit here and type a page or two about the contradictions made between the supporting arguments for this post I realised 2 things:

    1. Attempting to explain the dynamics of psychology and its categorical opposition when defining religion in a group of devout christians would be fruitless at best.

    2. The post pretty much shows the moral “Learn from your mistakes.” (although this does not encompass the entire post since not all scars can be considered mistakes) and, while it’s foundations are a bit shaky, the message is there.

    So instead I’ll just leave on this.

    Stephen King was a great writer known especially for his use of metaphor, and perhaps, you have taken his quote a little to literal.

    Finally, while you think of any reply you want to add; yes, I did self harm a few years back, over a period of time. It pushed me further into a spiral of depression than I already was. It was only through my own will that I dragged myself from this abyssal state away from suicidal thoughts and pushed myself to be who I am today. It is because of this that I am INSULTED by anyone who credits any of my own effort to any form of fickle “God” and defy anyone who even implies that it was his hand that helped me in any way.

  • Beautiful word, Seth.

    If scars are not meant to be cherished, Jesus’ resurrected body would have been scar-free. It was his scars that drove Thomas to his knees: “My Lord and my God.”

    Our scars are part of the “word” of our testimony.
    His scars were part of being the Word for this broken world.

    By His scars, we are healed.
    By cherishing our scars, we can become an extension of His healing power.

    Love,
    Judith

    PS: Welcome back from your retreat, friend…I’m sure I was not alone in praying for your time in the mountains.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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