When I was 19 years old I tore my ACL in a church league basketball game.
OK, that’s not 100 percent true.
I think I actually partial tore it that night, but didn’t realize it was that bad until nine months later when it buckled on me for the fourth time — at the hands of Mr. “I’m playing defense in this pick-up game like it’s the Final Four”– and left me crawling out of a basement YMCA gym in Salem, Virgina.
I should probably be thankful for the over-aggressive dude that showed up in running shoes and broke it down on every fast break, but alas, I still don’t like him. (Note to self: Work on forgiveness.)
That was more than 10 years ago, and since then, I’ve healed, played more ball than I ever dreamed, and run several miles a week.
Still though, there are days when that knee hurts. There are days when the scar from surgery is clearly evident and even a few days when I can feel the staples in my cartilage.
But that’s life. That’s my life. That’s just how things are going to be as a result of the trauma that area of my body went through.
Today I got to thinking about life’s traumas, but not the kinds that necessarily leave physical scars, more the kinds that leave emotional and spiritual ones.
The kinds of traumas that come as a result of sin.
I think if we’re being honest we’ll admit that we all have a few lasting scars from our mistakes. A few little, or not so little, nagging reminders of our pasts and times we’ve screwed up.
Sure, we’ve been forgiven for them, we’ve healed, but much like my knee, every now and then it becomes very clear that things aren’t quite the same as they used to be. There never will be.
If you’re like me, you probably most often get a little bummed looking at these scars and start replaying how things should have gone in your head. Of course this sucks, and unless you’re just feeling a little too good about yourself that day, doing that probably doesn’t serve any productive purpose.
Instead of looking at our scars as windows into the past, I think we should look at them for guidance as to the future.
When I look at my knee scar, I’m reminded that my knees are one of my areas of weakness, something I need to be proactive in taking care of. There are certain things I should do to help them and plenty of things I should avoid because, well, my knee mileage is that of a 65-year-old.
I think the scars from our pasts are the same way. They can show us areas where we are weak, and if we’re smart about it, provide us with cautionary tales as to what we should and shouldn’t be attempting in the future.
Of course the best thing our scars can remind us of is that we won’t be weak forever. One day those scars and our weaknesses will all disappear and we’ll get some sweet new scar-less and soup-up bodies. (Also, I will then be able to dunk again. OK, that’s a lie, it will be my first time dunking. I’m sorry.)
Until then, however, I think the best thing we can do is embrace our scars and absorb whatever lessons they teach.