Every Scar Has a Story

I see it each time he comes into the bedroom after a shower, a few seconds before it's covered by a fresh shirt. A dark line about four inches long on the lower right side of his belly. It's a scar from when they took his appendix out 35 years ago back when he was a teenager. It's a story I've heard many times mostly from his mom. It usually comes up after a bad experience with the hospital where it happened - whether it was some difficulty scheduling an appointment, an increase in prescription meds or even when the parking lot is packed and finding a spot is making my mother-in-law late for an appointment.

The story comes up because that hospital almost cost my husband's life when his appendix erupted. They rushed him to the closest branch when it happened, where he waited for hours in excruciating pain on a hospital bed temporarily parked in a hallway only to be told that that facility wasn't equipped to do the surgery. They were sent to another branch, him on the verge of death as they arrived. They performed the surgery in the nick of time and he survived. The icing on the cake was that there was no record of all that after it was all over. Mysteriously expunged as if none of it ever happened.

As mortifying as all of that was, my husband made it. He lived on to join the Marine Corps, marry, have three beautiful daughters, survive depression after a divorce, met me, visit places he never imagined he would and pretty much got a new lease in life.

That scar is a symbol of second chances. That 4-inch line represents gratitude. It's a reminder that if you think you know what's coming, think again. That scar tells me that no matter what, no matter how messed up things may seem, it will turn into the past at some point and things will be better.

Our scars have a story and those stories make us who we are. It's a badge of honor for the nightmares we've lived through. And that includes scars that aren't visible. The ones hiding from plain sight, like a broken heart or a bruised ego. They also tell a story, a pain of a different sort. But they symbolize the same thing our physical bruises carry.

STRENGTH.

RESILIENCE.

HOPE.

Don't be embarassed by your scars, visible or not. We all have them. It's nothing to be ashamed about but something to be proud of. Share their stories like we do with my husband's ruptured appendix. Because in doing so, you might just look at the life you often complain about and see it for what it truly is - a miracle.

You're luckier than you think,
Marge