Scar tissue

“Say only the good things people need to hear, things that will help them…” Ephesians 4:29

Last week, a friend who is a cancer survivor thought her cancer might have returned, but, thankfully, it was only scar tissue that was causing her discomfort. Her doctor said it should be a relatively easy fix.

Thinking of physical scar tissue reminded me of the other kind of scars, the invisible kind left from emotional hurts, heartbreaks and betrayals.

If only emotional scars were a relatively easy fix! In my experience, they are not.

Over the years, I have done a fair amount of work on healing my emotional scars, and I have made progress. But, new hurts still happen and sometimes a new hurt can re-open the wound of an old one, a hurt I thought I had healed and left behind.

If I were able to trace my bad behaviors, I am fairly certain they all lead back to some emotional hurt and its scar tissue.

Usually, I am not aware I am carrying scars—until I say or do something hurtful or at least not helpful. My scars can blindside me and leave me somewhat bewildered. “Why did I say that?” is the question that often opens a pathway to scar tissue.

A while ago, the job I thought was permanent turned out to be temporary, when the person who had quit changed her mind. There were early signs of her change of heart, so I was prepared. But I was still disappointed and felt a sense of betrayal. I had no say in the matter, leaving me feeling vulnerable and disempowered—two things I am not particularly good at dealing with.

I accepted my fate, though, and moved on to a new job, which turned out to be a great fit for me.

I thought I had dealt with my hurt feelings, that I had let go and moved on. And then, the other day, I found myself making a point by using a story related to this old job. While the story was true, it was not helpful. I could have made my point with another story, a more neutral one, but I chose this one. “Aha,” I thought. This issue is unresolved; the scar still itches, and I scratched it.

If I were honest with myself, I was aware of a tinge of remorse even as the words were coming out of my mouth. By the time I finished, I felt regret filling in the spaces where those words had been. Within hours, I knew that my story was pointing out to me an emotional scar; I was not completely healed. I had not let go. I had spoken out of my hurt.

I remember learning that pearls come from sand inside clam shells, irritations that are transformed into something beautiful. I pray for the same transformation for my scar tissue, that my hurts and scars can become the gift that helps me to be more forgiving and compassionate.

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6 thoughts on “Scar tissue

  1. annemarielom

    There’s a story I just heard the other day when the devil, disguised as Jesus, was visiting a person. The person knew the imposter immediately because he had no scars. Jesus would have had scars.
    Our scars, like the stigmata of some of the saints, can lead us to greater holiness or, as you pointed out, can lead us to speak/act out of hurts that are not healed. Thanks for this reflection, Madeline. It brought to mind many points to ponder.

    Reply
  2. michelebaldwin46

    Thank you, Madeline for this post. I recently had a similar experience when visiting family members. Not only did old scars get reopened but l found myself experiencing some of the old reactions all over again. I reminded myself that it is Lent and the cross( of scars) can get heavy. I prayed for strength and maybe there will be hope for new healing and holiness.

    Reply
  3. Madeline Bialecki Post author

    Justin, you witnessed this wounded healer first hand–our talk at the game watch inspired this piece when I realized I was talking to you out of old hurts. God keeps calling me to delve deeper into old scars/wounds and seek healing.

    Reply

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