Our scars are storytellers. Let them speak.
I posted a picture of my arm on instagram featuring a scar from a life changing accident. My uniquely perceptive friend comments, "You are kintsugi". I immediately looked up its meaning and cried as I read the definition:
Kintsugi 金継ぎ, "golden joinery"
“Kintsugi is about taking a broken part of a ceramic piece and improving upon it so that the damage becomes part of a new design... it is about making something better than new.” - Unknown
Brokenness feels like a curse. It makes us question every choice we’ve ever made, flipping over every thought and belief searching for answers. We wonder how we got here. We wander into the darkness of our painful circumstances feeling lost and confused. We ask ourselves, what did we do to deserve this?
When life does not look like the pictures on our vision boards or the framed photos mounted on our walls, perhaps we need to ask different questions.
Broken By Accident
On October 5, 2019 my daughter and I were joy riding to an event, singing to each other and complimenting the moon's brilliance. All was well until I slammed into the back of a semi-truck.
As my white Ford Expedition crumbled like a wadded up paper against my body, I was in excruciating pain. I could not move. All I could do was breathe, pray, and calmly project words of hope and reassurance to my eleven year old daughter who was miraculously uninjured in the backseat. Eventually, we were rescued and taken to separate hospitals to recover.
From the looks of my truck, it is a miracle that we survived! Though my injuries were minor in light of what could have happened, every wound had to be examined in order for the doctors to help me heal. Due to my dislocated right hip, the surgeon placed me on "no weight bearing" restrictions. I was in a wheelchair, then used a walker from October until the end of November.
My nose was fractured and the right side of my face was swollen from crashing into the steering wheel. No, the airbag did not deploy. I haven't told anyone this but some parts of the right side of my face are still numb.
My right arm was broken in two places - the ulna and radius bones in my forearm suffered “clean” fractures. The surgeon inserted steel rods to hold the fractured pieces of bone together as they naturally mend. This fortified my weakness, providing stability for sustainable healing.
The car. The scar. The recovery.
As a result of the surgery, I have two scars on my arm, one of which consists of two streams of broken flesh stitched together in a crooked pattern along the length of my forearm. This explains why my insightful friend on instagram referred to me as Kintsugi.
I’ve been asked if I have a tattoo. Nope. I was broken by accident and mended by the grace of God with a greater understanding of His power and my purpose. I have a testimony.
The car accident in 2019 is not the only trauma I have survived. Now that I can move and walk with ease, no one can look at me and tell my story. And no one can see the abrasions on my heart created from an unstable home in my childhood. No EKG can capture the heartbreaks I've suffered from rejection in past relationships. The grief and loss I have suffered is not visibly etched on my flesh for you to see. And there is no physical evidence of the pain I have caused others. But my tears, my smile, and even my scars are testimonies of God's healing grace.
This experience of recovering from physical trauma inspired me to view brokenness differently.
What if brokenness turns our worlds upside-down and inside-out so we can finally gain a proper perspective of life. What if brokenness is a priceless opportunity to become the most authentic version of ourselves? What if brokenness is a gift that places our resilience on a platform of healing for the world to stand in awe of God’s healing grace?
Don’t we all have a testimony? Haven’t we all been shattered by a collision with reality at some point in our lives? Maybe your heart was broken by a friend's betrayal or a lover's unfaithfulness. Perhaps a loss of employment during this pandemic slammed the breaks on your dreams. Maybe you survived an injury that altered your self image. The fact that you are still here, still breathing, carries the hope for complete healing from every wound we have suffered.
Healing cannot be welcomed where wounds go unacknowledged.
No matter what catastrophic experience crashes into our lives, our scars are a declaration of strength, resilience, endurance. Though we may be fractured at one point in our lives, we can be lovingly mended by grace. But in order to recover and heal, we must uncover the hurt. As I reflect on my experience last fall, I realize there was a process to my healing -
Breathe through the pain
Identify the wounds
Get the help that is needed
Maintain hope during healing
Share the story to inspire others
May we all grow through our broken times trusting that we will be whole again. May God's grace and mercy assure us that not only will we survive, we will heal into a stronger, more beautiful masterpiece.
For more on how to B.R.E.A.T.H.E. your way through the healing process, contact me for a consultation. Sign up for the Breath of Fresh Air and receive your free download of the 7 Elements to B.R.E.A.T.H.E.