Do You Want to See My Scar?

As a young girl, I can remember when U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson lifted his shirt for the cameras and showed off his scar from a recent surgery.  Although his staff claimed he was just trying to reassure the public that he was okay, critics saw it as unprofessional and crass — a gesture somehow beneath his status as president.

I recently heard Jan, a breast cancer survivor, speak at our church’s Mothers Day tea.  She told us that shortly after she received her diagnosis, a friend who was a breast cancer survivor took her under her wing and told her what she could expect.  A few days before Jan’s surgery, her friend took her aside and asked, “Do you want to see my scar?”  After seeing it, Jan found herself saying, “Is that all?  That’s not so bad. I can handle that.”

I was struck by the beauty and sacrifice of this single act.  Jan’s friend was willing to share the results of this extremely private and emotionally painful experience — all so that Jan could feel less fear and anxiety going into the surgery.  She understood that many times the fear and anticipation of the unknown is worse than the actual experience.  Or perhaps some other breast cancer patient had done the same for Jan’s friend before her surgery.  Sharing the scars gave strength, and ultimately healing — I believe to both parties.

We all walk around with scars, visible and invisible, that are the results of our life experiences.  We keep some hidden because the stories behind them are too painful to share.  Sometimes just thinking of the experience reopens those old wounds. We may feel guilt, embarrassment, shame.  But if, in God’s timing and with His help, we can bring them out in the open, expose them to the light and fresh air, a miraculous healing can begin.  We’re admitting to those around us that we are real people with imperfections and problems just like everyone else.  As a result, we can help in the healing process for others who share the same pain, and we can both gain strength for our own individual journeys.

After all, it is Jesus who is our ‘wounded healer’, and through whom we will finally come to complete healing and wholeness.  Isaiah prophesied, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)

Whether a president or a pauper, we all have scars…and it’s okay to share them.

Copyright  2010 Mary E. Egidio  – Permission is granted to share this article, but with attribution, and not for commercial purposes.  (Yes, you can share this, but tell who wrote it, where you found it, and don’t try to sell it)

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