“This is definitely going to leave a scar,” Brad says, as he gently traces the outside edge of the ragged wound.
I had an unfortunate encounter with the pavement this past weekend. Brad and I had finally ventured out of the apartment to take a much needed mental break and had planned a short bike ride on the streets of Quito, hoping to end up at a little coffee shop for some much needed connection time. The connection time came within about 100 feet of starting our bike ride…I connected with Brad’s back wheel as I was adjusting my foot on the pedal, and down I went.
Ironically, this was probably about 20 feet from where my mom took a tumble back in January when we hustled across the street and she missed one of the steps by the curb.
Needless to say, the third generation, specifically Tessa, wants to avoid that area of Rio Amazones going forward as she (justifiably so) feels like a sitting duck.
On Sundays, Quito has a great bike program that closes down traffic on one of the main streets. From 8am to 2pm, bikers, walkers, roller bladers, and skateboarders can all travel from the old airport all the way to the historic district without fear of cars, motorcycles, and buses. We love to take advantage of this opportunity, using our free BiciQuito bike passes, which allow us to check out the city bikes for 45 minutes at a time. At that point, you check it back in at one of the designated stops, wait ten minutes, and then again become eligible to take another bike. It’s a great system, especially for those of us who have not yet purchased our own bikes. You have to be over sixteen, though, so, at this point, without our own cycles, we cannot ride as a family as of yet.
Thankfully, even though the road is quite busy with cyclists, within seconds of my spill, people had stopped their bikes,
stared at the crazy gringa, waved people around us, helped me out of the street to the curb, brought over my bike, and were genuinely concerned with my well-being. Moments later, two traveling medics were checking me out, spraying my arm with antiseptic, making sure I had no broken bones, and asking Brad multiple questions in Spanish. As we never learned, forgot, didn’t know the words for being light-headed and nauseated, Brad tried his best to act it out for them, and then somehow told them we lived close and would just stay at the side of the road for awhile so they could move along and not need to wait for us. In the states, a fall like mine would have brought out the ambulance, a few paramedics, and a bit of a hospital bill for the ER visit. Here, we got three bandaids, some antiseptic spray, and a warm “de nada” (you’re welcome) to our appreciative thanks for their care.
Thankfully, we were close to home but I couldn’t shake the light-headedness and the nausea, so Brad called the boys and had them come help with the bikes while he went to get the truck to drive me the few blocks home. No easy task, as the main thoroughfare was closed for the biking, and we live in a series of one-way streets. But, he managed to get it done and come to my rescue. We’re sure the guards of our apartment building continually shake their heads as to these gringo antics. This time, Brad and I leave on foot, the boys leave shortly after to come meet us, Brad and Jacob return for the truck, Brad, Jacob, Josh, and I return in the truck but all three of them are packed in the front seat as I am laying down in the back and they can’t see that I am there. We are entertainment if nothing else.
The rest of the day was spent with ice packs (thank you leftover choclo!) and lots of Advil. All in all, I was so blessed as it could have been much worse. I had two large burn like abrasions on my arm and two additional scrapes, bruised ribs, and I smacked my cheekbone pretty signifcantly, resulting in a bit of a concussion. Four days later, my ribs are still pretty sore, I am turning a bit yellow and purple under my eye, and those abrasions are going to leave a scar.
The past few nights have given me ample opportunity to reflect on these injuries as I try to get comfortable on the couch (totally my choice, for the record…) in order to allow Brad some time to sleep without me tossing and turning . Over and over I kept coming back to the fact that I may have a pretty significant scar on my wrist. My mind wanders back to my childhood as I think about the scar on my jawbone, a result of playing hide and seek in a cemetery when I was young, and tripping into the corner of a headstone. I think of the stretch marks that permanently mark me as a mom. I ponder various decisions made throughout my life, and the implications of emotional scars that have resulted.
Many of us have scars in the making. We have wounds that run shallow, and some that run deep. We have injuries that people see, and many that we hold close and share with no one. Perhaps a pain exists within your marriage between you and your spouse, or you have been wronged by someone and can’t let go. Often, our history has consequences of poor decisions, wrongs that seem to be unable to be righted, forgiveness needed but words that just can’t come.
These wounds run deep and often, and, just when they begin to scab over, they get bumped, jarred, scraped, or grabbed. However it happens, the cycle of healing must begin again, and we hurt, sometimes more than the previous incident(s), and we just want it to be better.
So, you scar. The wound heals on the outside, and, to the ones who are looking in, things are better. But, you know, just by glancing or thinking about the reminder, that you have felt pain. You, in an instant, can be right back to the time of injury.
A scar is a wound healed by time, but with memories that last a lifetime.
Is it possible, that these memories that last a lifetime, could be used and turned to good?
What if we TRULY claimed God’s promise from Romans 8:28?
And we know that God causes everything to work together
for the good of those who love God and are called according to
his purpose for them.
I genuinely want to trust that this is true. I want to claim God’s promises in Scripture as the road map which guides my life.
Can these scars that I have, that you have, that we all bear, all be something good no matter how deep and wide the pain flows?
Is it merely a choice to see the good in the midst of the pain?
I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I abundance or in need. Philippians 4:11-12 (HCSB)
I don’t find it a surprise that this verse has been revealed to our family more than once in the past week. As I ponder the meaning of the scars we all bear, I wonder if these are the things Paul is talking about…in all circumstances – the good, the bad, the ugly, the things we share, the hidden secrets we bury, the loss of loved ones, the diseases we face – all the things which wound us and give us scars…they have meaning and can be turned to good only by the ONE who can help us through the pain. Despite what we are feeling, or, more specifically, in the midst of the pain we are experiencing, I venture the premise that we can find peace and contentment in the Truth of God’s promises.
How do we know?
I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4: 13 (HCSB)
He alone can take the scars and help us carry the burden. He alone, in our darkest hours of sadness and despair, can provide the strength and peace to move forward. He alone can lift us when we can no longer stand.
He alone has the scars on his hands and feet to show his love to us whenever we look to him.
Just the other night, I was thinking about what it would be like in heaven, and all I could think of was how, whenever we will turn to gaze upon Jesus, we will see his scars.
Every. Single. Time.
And for that simple fact alone, I am able to carry through each and every day, full of wounds and scars, knowing and trusting that His eternal design for my life is far better than my earthly plan could ever be.
He personally carried our sins
in his body on the cross
so that we can be dead to sin
and live for what is right.
By his wounds
you are healed. 1 Peter 2:24 (NLT)
We are a hurting people, full of wounds and scars. The pain may be old, or it may be new and fresh. But all are seen, felt, and healed by the blood of the Lamb. I pray today that you can look and see Jesus’ love for you, and know, with all your heart, that this painful, earthly life, is held safely in His scarred hands. He is holding you today and always.
Clinging to God’s promises…