Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Thicker Skin

I have a series of scars that dent my forehead and are mostly hidden by my eyebrows. For some reason the first thing I hit when I bump into something is my eyebrows or head. When I began losing my sight, it was because I was trying to get around using my flawed eyesight. Of course I didn't see things like a branch sticking out from a tree. My lack of depth perception meant I hit the edge of more tables than I cleared.However, once I was trained and learned to use my cane to travel I crashed and burned less often. I did still hit into things, now its just my own stupidity to blame.
A good friend of mine and I were taking a class together. We were late the first day of class and so I was rushing down the hall.  Relying on my cane to guide me, I looked for the stone pillar that would mark the correct spot in the wide hall that would show me the way. Just as I located it with my cane, I turned for the class room.  My rush to get into the class before I made a scene entering interfered with my caution. I turned the corner a half second too late, crashing into  the grouted edge of the gigantic pillar. I creased my face from my forehead, across the bridge of my nose and split my upper lip. Now I was really late, disoriented and had blood running down my face. Talk about making a scene. My friend ran to the restroom to get me a clutch of paper towels. I tried to find my way across the classroom, into my seat and appear unaffected.
You can imagine how that went.
A guy in the back of the room said he was a doctor and would examine it to see if I needed stitches. The teacher tried not to let it interrupt her lesson but she kept asking if I was Okay.
With the wad of paper towels I was able to stem the tide of blood and even found a band-aid in my bag to close the wound. By the time class was over, my lower lip was twice the size it started out and my eyebrow was beginning to droop a little. I'm sure I looked like I'd been hit by a truck.
My girlfriend and I just laughed.
"New scars," she told me.
"A thicker skin," I agreed.
If I were ever to show you my scars you'd probably have to brace your self not to wince openly. I have a lot. Scars from surgeries, Kidney dialysis, stupid things I do and just plain life in general. They start on my left foot back when I was in the eight grade and my latest was 3 months ago when they cut me open from rib cage to pelvis for my transplant. I'm not proud of them and I don't show them everywhere I go, but I also recognize the story of my life in them.
I am the woman I am today because of what I learned from those scars. God teaches us to be stronger, smarter, and have a thicker skin when he allows us to earn our scars. A perfect unmarred body, life, or heart is one that has no stories to tell or lessons to learn. They seem tragic or cruel and sometimes we question how a loving God lets bad things happen to the children he loves. He wants us to grow closer to letting him guide our lives and the scars can either remind us of his love or become bitter wounds that drive us away. Its not Him that decides though. Its us.
I will never walk too fast into the classroom again. The crease in my eyebrow will always remind me why I don't want to. It doesn't mean God doesn't love, watch over, or protect his children. It just means he trusts us to thicken our skin so we'll learn to trust him. I will acquire more scars. I will make more mistakes. I will live, love and learn while I'm doing it though. Hopefully my thicker skin will make the lessons a bit more fun.

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