Wednesday, November 26, 2014

stamps of life

I was thinking the other day about how life leaves scars.

It's a common concept, this idea that we're all constantly healing from, repressing or feeling the residual scar tissue of past pains and heartbreaks and memories. Sometimes they're seen as a good thing - these invisible (or sometimes quite visible) marks of trial and error, betrayal and tragedy. Learning experiences that make us stronger in the end.

This is a little bit different than my posts on clothes and movies and books (which I still love to write about), but sometimes this blog is a reservoir of my thoughts and various rabbit hole adventures. Other stories that come from perhaps a deeper place inside my mind.

As I thought about life's scars, my mind began to tumble down that rabbit hole and eventually led me into a gallery of imagined people. I'm there too, and we're all covered in our vivid white scars, wounds of all shapes and sizes. What do they mean? Where did they come from?
I then started thinking of other invisible markings we may have. If we have marks from the troubling and painful times, shouldn't we also have markings to prove our triumphs?

I began to imagine the white scarred skin covered by stamps of color. The people became hosts to a vivid myriad of high-resolution experiences. Stamps made from words of love, traveling and discovery, blossoming friendships, victories, memories, and more. Stamps of flowers, maps, pictures, places, people, things. Tattooed from head to toe by the blessings.

It's kind of a miraculous picture in my mind. Because I think sometimes those scars can be pesky. They can be blinding. Just like our daily imperfections that preoccupy and frustrate us. Just like that story in the Bible where Elisha and his servant are surrounded by their enemies in the mountains, and Elisha asks the Lord to open his servant's eyes. When He does, the servant is dumbstruck to discover that the hills are packed with horses and chariots of fire - an army of angels standing guard around them. There is so much we cannot see and do not know.

There are two very basic things I learn from looking at my own stamps and scars.

1. This World is Broken
2. There is Hope

This world is broken and always will be. It's called sin and if you don't know about it, I suggest taking a look at the definition. You can't walk out your door without garnering a cut or a bruise - there are sharp weapons shooting across the air at every moment. It's a dangerous place to be.

But there is Hope. And His name is Jesus. He has scars too, because He was magnificent enough to walk in this world and is living proof of its weapons. His scars are real. If you don't know about Him, then welcome to the Truth, my friend. He is the author of those stamps of life, and I guarantee He's already made some on you. You may call them blessings or luck or karma but those are just empty shells assigned to the true source.

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and brings so many thoughts of family and memories and above all, gratitude. Second best to gratitude are my grandma's mashed potatoes. But even in my short 26 years this life has managed to scar me. And I have been renewed, every time, by a brilliant stamp. Scars are real and they sometimes last for a long time, but there are things that are bigger and better. Things of color and life. Like purpose in Christ, like truth, like eternity.

I generally know what my scars are and how I got them, but I'd like to think that if you put on those magical glasses (or those God-given eyes) that allowed you to see life's many marks on my skin, I'd be a radiant kaleidoscope of color.

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