Tonight during my usual reflect-on-and-try-to-make-sense-of-my-life time of the evening, I remembered a scar on my stomach. It’s about 3 inches long and nearly a centimeter high – you would think I wouldn’t forget about it. I’m painfully aware of it during swimsuit season and I used to be quite self-conscious about it as I was getting to know Dan. But now, I hardly notice that it’s there. It’s a part of my body, a part of who I am.

This whole reflection process led to more remembering – of scars not physically present on my body, but forever embedded in my being. Like at age nine, the day when I learned what death was, and first wrestled with God. Or of being torn away from my life, friends, and home to move – again. In middle school, when the girls called me up to tell me everything they didn’t like about me. Of being shut down, shut out, and shut up – because I’m a woman. Being lied to, cheated on, not loved, and loving too much. Friendships coming to a bitter end. My Grandma dying a long and painful death. And then that mark on my body – a ruptured appendix that almost killed me.

Suffering doesn’t leave us untouched. I have scars of all shapes and sizes hidden inside me, woven into my being. At first they’re ugly, and terribly painful. They bleed and ooze and you wonder if life will ever be good again.

But it is. It always is. Maybe not in the same way, but there are new delightful roads to travel and miracles to witness. Sorrow and hope go hand in hand. My scars remind me of where I’ve been, help shape who I am, and call me to live fully into this present time, with all its joys and sorrows and scars.

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