I was telling my sister on the phone the other night that I used to work with a friend who would say to me, "I would never get upset at you (for a work mistake) because you're harder on yourself than I would ever be on you." I wore that statement like a badge of honor, sharing it with others.
I look back now and am so sad for that woman.
The woman I used to be.
The woman who was proud of self-criticism and self-condemnation.
The woman who held her head up high, loving that she could beat herself up for even the tiniest mistakes.
The woman who had no time or interest in forgiveness of self.
I look back now and wish I had admitted my weaknesses, been open to the gift of vulnerability.
I look back now and wish I had shared my feelings of insecurity with others.
I look back now and realize there was so much there that needed to heal...
scars that were buried deep...
but that were also blazing red on the surface for my digging at them.
Since sharing my hardships last year with others, I know I have heard stories never told by people who usually feel they need to put on a good show.
But when I come clean, I think it's an invitation to them.
"Well, if she can, maybe just once, I can."
I never realized what a gift that would be to others.
We don't often go up to folks and say, "Hey, I'm really damaged. You probably are too! Wanna exchange stories?"
(And frankly, I don't really think it's a great idea either!)
But we also don't let our guard down often enough to see that the person
next door to us,
on the phone with us
is exactly like we are and might be the empathetic heart we need to help us ease our burden.
We're too busy to see that, while we're hiding our own scars in fear of the judgemental world, everyone is else is pulling their sleeves down too.
I recently read the book, "Heaven is for Real," a story about a three year old boy who was near death, and while he was in surgery with the doctors working hard to save him, he took a brief trip to Heaven.
Later, in telling his dad what he had seen, he said to him,
"Jesus had colors here and here, here and here,"
pointing to his hands and feet and side.
He said the color was red.
Jesus nail marks were still evident.
He did not cover His scars.
Why would the Son of God, the one person who could make Himself totally WHOLE in Heaven, keep the most painful memories of His life alive? Why would He not heal Himself?
It's a question that I cannot wait to ask when I finally go home to meet Him.
But if I were to venture a guess, I would say this....
That His scars are proof to all who enter Heaven that He suffered and died so that they might arrive there one day.
That His scars show His vulnerability, His humanity,
His walk fraught with the same injustices and defeats each one of us feels...
but that He walked it bravely to pave the way for us.
That His scars comfort us in their rawness...
That if He, who was God's Son, could survive the indignities He found on earth
then we, who are heirs to the throne, can also survive.
He's a beacon of hope for all who bear their own scars.