Posts Tagged ‘girl who broke my heart’

Scar-wars was originally posted on “Tides of the Heart” 

photo: by Angela = )

 The scene takes place in the galley of a fishing boat. Three men, who 24 hours earlier, shared mostly contempt and arrogance toward each other, had just survived “round one” of man vs. nature. But now they were acting like old friends. I wonder if it was because they were removed from the “battle field” where it was evident that they were up against something bigger than all three of them that began the bond. The began a game I though clever to call “scar wars”. It sounded like this: “hey look at this scar. I got it from an eel… or this from a bar fight, or this from the girl who broke my heart…

The games the primary objective was to match scar for scar. It was a game that may have been played by warriors returning after a raid, a challenging hunt, or fending off a wild and deadly animal. Later it evolved to a grown up game of show and tell and it helped to break awkward silences. The silent times that came when we realized how small we actually were in the scheme of things. I called these exchanges “Scar-Wars” because the exchanges are territorial at first: ” I can do better than that look at my scar it’s from…” Still the stories open a window that reveals just how alike we are in our human-ness. We are all at times vulnerable, silly, clumsy, or week.

 Back to the fishing boat: The atmosphere in the galley scene changes. Someone in the “scar-wars” exchange takes an interest in an obvious scar that is not brought into play by one of the players. The one upping, and bragging ceased. Had this player intended fold without showing his “trump” card? Maybe because he knew that death could be waiting around the corner, he decided to give an answer to  the inquiry by sharing the story behind the scar. When he (the most unlikable of the three) begins talking, the room becomes still and quiet. The men stop smiling and listen compassionately maybe even introspectively. They knew that his story might touch on some of their own untold stories, and they knew that this scar might reveal more about who this salty old dog really was.

I sat among the theater audience listening much like the characters in the story, thinking, “oh that’s who you are.” My heart softened toward this contentious character and I found myself not wanting him to die.

The scar was self-inflicted. It was the result of an attempt to remove tatoo. The tattoo served as a reminder of two life changing battles in this man’s life. The last was a tragic battle he had with nature. After being torpedoed, he and several shipmates watched helplessly as man-eating sharks picked them off one by one. He bore no visible scars because even though he shared many days in the water among the sharks, he was never bitten. Surviving and not being bitten came at a high price and it was not something worth bragging about. On the wake of this man versus nature battle, he had successfully delivered the Hiroshima bomb. Again, he couldn’t brag about winning that battle either and again there was no visible scar. But there was a tatoo. The tatoo that would serve as a reminder of the tragic stories he was part of. It was that tatoo that he tried to remove. As if the removing the tatoo would erase the memory.

But there was still a scar.

So it is that some wounds don’t seem to leave a visible scar. But visible or invisible all scars have a story. Whether the scar is on the flesh or below the surface, like the tatoo, removing it often leaves a scar too.

I am familiar with these invisible scars. I have unfortunately considered them a “badge of heroism”. My personal trump card for the ” I am tougher than you ‘star wars’ game”. I believed they gave me justification to be bitter and guarded. They successfully put distance between me and experiencing other people’s feelings. When someone was going through something that was a little too painful or familiar I could use my trump card to secretly put myself above them. (After all I survived much worse). Mercy was a concept I couldn’t get. Pridefully I considered my hardness as strength. Maybe it was even fear that kept me from entering into another person’s story. But, as long as my scars stayed hidden, my ability to relate to others was limited.

One of the steps found in recovery programs instructs us uncover (or take inventory of) each and every scar. I found for me that I had falsely believed that, because scars were from old wounds they had no potency on my life. WRONG Once the inventory was made, the program required the sharing of this “inventory” with myself, God and another human being. My “inventory” showed that my unspoken stories were still very potent. But when I shared these stories, the secrets were less powerful. By sharing my scars I allowed people and God to speak into my stories. They gave me encouragement, empathy and acceptance. At times we shared laughter or tears. More importantly the people I shared with, revealed some of the scars they had from their lives. Wow. connection.

1John 1:9 says: “if we confess our sins, God is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness” (all: that which was done by me or to me). All is washed clean by the God who made me, the God who gives me strength, the God who cares for me, the God who reveals truth to me. When he cleanses me from the unrighteousness there is no scar. I am given soft new flesh. I learn how to laugh in what delights God, and to cry at what breaks his heart. More importantly God reveals the scars he bears for me (and by which I am healed). And I learn to be in agreement with God, who in the beginning said, “It is not good for man to be alone”.

  • (scene references to the motion picture Jaws)

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