This summer, my mom, sister, two of her, friends, and I went to Niagara Falls. Driving from Detroit to Niagara takes about five hours if you drive through Canada. For us, it took about eight…
Canada has rest stops that are structured in a very similar way to American mall food courts. Inside, there are multiple different places to get snacks, coffee, and assorted fast food. But perhaps most importantly to a caffeine crazed man and four females, they had a Starbucks. Because of this, we stopped to load up on teas, lattes, and baked goods.
As we walked back to the car, I, being the 20 year old carefree individual that I am, swung the car door open much more abruptly than necessary and simultaneously took a step forward. This proved to be a rather unfortunate combination of movements. What resulted was the corner of the door slicing through my forehead which led to an immediate waterfall of blood forming from my head.
My own personal Niagara Falls!
After three hours in a Canadian ER, five stitches, and many Canadian stereotypes being acted upon by hospital workers (who knew that the term “noodle” could mean head to a healthcare professional), we were back on the road.
The wound on my head healed over the course of a few weeks, leaving a pinkish scar across where my hairline and forehead meet. A permanent mark to a memory.
We all have scars, don’t we?
Both physical and metaphorical.
There are things in our past that have happened. Things that have left a permanent mark on who we are.
But isn’t it interesting how our understanding of a past scar in the english language has such a negative connotation? For most of us, myself included, we have been conditioned to believe that scars can only be associated with a memory we’d rather forget.
Scars, in the connotation to which they are most regularly associated, are a final word to something. They leave no room for renewal.
Now granted, there are some things that have happened to us and are associated with us that are not in a state where renewal is currently feasible.
Yet at the same time, there are a lot of things that we perceive to be final that are waiting for a new definition.
Scars are like the puppy that pees on you the first time you meet it. Yet scars are the same puppy that you adopt and take on prolonged walks fourteen years later as he hobbles along. He looks up at you with the same grin that years earlier meant there was a new yellow stain on the carpet.
Scars are the car you regret spending way too much money as a single person right after college. Yet they are the same car that you end up taking cross country with your spouse to move to the place you’re starting your life together.
Scars are the rejection that yields the determination to create a reality far greater than the one that would have resulted from that which you were rejected.
Scars, it would seem, are the negative waiting to receive a new definition.
I was rather worried to see the amount of blood rushing out of my head in Woodstock, Ontario this summer. But in hindsight, I have been able to use that story as a talking point to introduce myself to people. To make people laugh. To help them see me as approachable and relatable. It has become a Mike Christie staple.
Being told that my way of thinking was dangerous and even heretical at a bible college led me to have serious self doubt as to what my identity was for awhile. But through remaining steadfast in my “unorthodox” pursuit of truth, I learned that I wasn’t actually a heretic. I learned that a lot of what I was starting to experience were things others were encountering too.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are scars I’m still haunted by and others that I have caused that I still need to make amends for. But it is through the acceptation of a situation longing to be renewed that we can start to rewrite our painful stories.
Here’s some questions:
What are some literal and metaphorical scars that you have? How do you see the story associated with the physical ones now that time has past compared to when they initially happened? The metaphorical ones? Where could the story of those scars perhaps want to go? What’s the fist step you can take to help get them to that point?