Thursday, December 27, 2012


I held a newborn baby at work.

Innocent, fragile, untouched by the world. There is something so magical about the skin of a newborn; soft, pink, smooth, not yet marred by the hazards of the world.

I have many scars, and they all tell a story. One on my right middle finger from the times I sliced out my finger tip using an ice shaver. Or the one on my left forearm from bubbling solder during a stained glass accident. Most scars fade over time, some so small you can barely notice them, but others remain pronounced forever.

One of the things that marvels me about the world is the transformation of innocent newborn to the person they will become. Particularly when I look at those... whom society might not deem as appropriate or desirable. It never ceases to amaze me that often my co-workers and I are willing to forgive the four year old who is cursing and pitching a fit, recognizing that he is the product of his environment and often a victim of poor (or no) parenting. Yet, when we are faced with the 12 year old who is sullen and rebellious, judgment quickly ensues.

We all bear scars, emotional, physical, psychological;  while I believe we are all ultimately responsible for our actions, it's hard not to be feel sympathetic. What about those people who have never known security, empowerment, or unconditional love? Those who have not ever experienced feeling like they are worth someone, or taught right and wrong? When do we start accepting responsibility for helping them see a better path.

I've been thinking about my own scars a lot lately. There are many unpleasant things in my past, events and circumstances I might think I want to forget. It's hard to feel ties to your past, particularly when it comes to relationships. There are things people have done, things that I have done, things that have happened, that still sting. That scar is still there, and always will be I suspect, but acknowledging can be difficult when trying to differentiate between scars and emotional entanglements. When I think about Situation X, does it still make me angry? Yes. But do I consider myself as having moved on and past it? Yes.

For example, there was a significant controversy at my parent's last church.The details are unimportant, what matters it that I was hurt, and my friends were hurt, and most importantly, my family was hurt. Not only were we hurt, but our lives were forever altered and changed. I believe God can bring good in a horrible situation, and I know that no one was truly faultless, but to see my parents and siblings have their entire lives uprooted and changed because of someone else's (misplaced) vendetta. It's crazy how quickly miscommunication and misunderstanding can spiral out of control. What starts as petty rumors are fueled by those who are angry and end up changing the course of a church or an individual's life.

That experience altered my relationship with God. I walked away from the church for several years, uninterested in an organized religion that could be so tainted by bitter and vindictive people. My faith was so entrenched in the 'religious' experience of my childhood that it took me almost six years to rebuild my spirituality separate, though informed by, a structured belief system. Am I still actively angry and bitter at those people? No, by the grace of God. But I bear the scars.

So when things pop up that touch those scars, I react. My hot buttons? Being lied to and then told I'm an idiot/being treated like I'm stupid. People hurting my family. Betrayal from friends. Friendship should mean more than going with the status quo. Friendship should mean trust and loyalty. Not blind trust, but a general faith in the good of the other person.

I bear a lot of scars, in many different aspects of my person. Some are of my own making. Yet, I've learned I wouldn't want to change or remove any of them. They are reminders to me of where I've been and how far I've come. In many cultures, scars, particularly battle wounds, are a badge of honor, signaling the bravery and courage of the person. I view my emotional scars of proof of my endurance and fortitude. Proof that I've taken risks, and I haven't just sat on the sidelines watching others live.

They can just be frustrating to work around when they rear their ugly heads.

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