I’m back! For those of you who missed me on “Wellspring” last week, thank you. After taking a much-needed week off following my double mastectomy, I find myself desirous of writing this week’s blog post while still uncertain of just what to write! Perhaps it’s the pain meds, or maybe I used up my day’s allotment of creativity cleaning off my kitchen counter, but I’m mostly just aware of my scars. Since Holy Spirit is in this moment, I’m going to assume that tonight we’re talking about scars…His, mine, and ours.
My heart is a lot nearer the surface than it used to be. The only thing that protects it is skin over chest, sealed by a six-inch long strip of super glue, with a matching six-inch scar on the right side. Neatly done incisions, according to the medical staff, who have been quite pleased with my healing process. But it doesn’t negate the fact that the scars ‘mark the spot’ where my breasts used to be. For this woman, it represents profound loss. For my Bridegroom King, Jesus, it marks me as “His Beloved.” Somewhere between ‘loss’ and ‘Beloved’ my scars serve to remind me of His deep love for me.
Nothing about my recent surgery is attractive. The only thing I can do is point to my beating heart and say, “See? I’m still alive and that’s the way I want it, so to get that I get this.” The scars are hard to bear as each time I look at them they proclaim a physical reality I cannot make disappear, or more accurately, reappear.
I even have accoutrements that give new meaning to ‘a sight for sore eyes!’ Below the scars I’m sporting three tubes and matching grenade-shaped drains collecting lymphatic fluid that will be removed in their own good time. Of course, their time and my time are operating on different clocks, but seeing that I’m at my body’s drainage mercy, I can only hope that sooner than later this week I will be down to a reasonable dribble and get them removed. Then I’ll be able to more easily see the other assorted incisions, albeit smaller, where the tubes are currently protruding. It’s hard to see beauty in such rawness.
Part of my interim hygiene routine is being wrapped in Cling Wrap. Yes…good old clear plastic wrap that allows me to bathe without soaking my bandages. When I first arrived home from the hospital, our RN daughter got the fun of wrapping me like last night’s leftovers. Since her departure, my husband took over and has been doing an admirable job of providing my necessary home health care. Admirable, until a couple nights ago when he made me fall in love with him all over again…
We were in the middle of the Cling Wrap routine. Mind you, the bandages have no adhesive and are about three various layers thick, so it takes a strategically placed pinkie here and three available fingers there to hold them in place on one side, with the other hand mimicking the same on the opposite side. At the same time, it takes two other hands to unroll the plastic wrap round and round my chest. If done successfully, when finished we have four free hands and a whole lot less plastic wrap on the roll!
On this particular night, another wave of sadness over our loss washed over me and I said to him, “This isn’t exactly the most romantic thing, is it?” To which he replied with an intensity that startled me, “Yes it is! Because this is what we’ve got right now!” He held me and the tears came again.
My husband’s response to embrace such un-loveliness to assure me he finds me lovely and loveable regardless of my scars did me in. And not long after, Holy Spirit made sure I grasped the correlation between my spouse’s loving acceptance of me as I am ‘right now’ and Jesus’ own unconditional love.
When I think of Jesus, whose body – in his prime – was scarred far greater than mine, I cannot miss the fact that He took the scars meant for me. Now I have taken scars out of love for Him because once again He says “…he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5b
My scars are love scars because my husband finds me lovely. They are love scars because my Bridegroom King finds me lovely. And they are love scars to me because they are part of my story written ages ago to be walked out in this place and time as evidence of Jesus’ ownership of me.
Because of His scars that will remain with Him for eternity, I live. So tell me, how can I refuse my love scars?
Gratefully Free this evening…
“…for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.” Galatians 6:17b (NAS)