Proof That My Heart is Alive!

A dead heart doesn’t scar. 

Scars don’t matter on the dead. No one thinks of their scars – their bodies are cold, dead, in the ground.

Scars matter on the living – they tell a story on those of us who are alive. They are a reminder that our bodies are a living, breathing, duplicating group of cells; that our cells form a body subject to those wounds that come from accidents and illness.

Scars are not only reminders that the body is alive, they are reminders that our hearts are alive. Let me say it again: A dead heart doesn’t scar. But when it’s alive to love and pain, sorrow and joy then it is vulnerable to the people who come in and leave their marks – whether good or bad.

A heart may be scarred but it’s still alive – and being alive means there is room for hope.

The dead don’t scar; only the living do. My scarred heart stands as ‘proof of life’.~Alece Ronzino

And a heart that is alive feels grief, feels separation.

Bettie Addleton – a longtime friend of my parents now turned friend of mine – is a regular reader to Communicating Across Boundaries. She sent this quote today by way of email and it speaks wisdom into grief, gratitude into scars from loss, and hope into wounds from separation. So I’ll end with these words from Dietrich Bonhoeffer:


“There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not attempt to do so. 

One must simply hold out and endure it.

At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort.

For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it.

It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness.  God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve – even in pain – the authentic relationship.

Further more, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation.

But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy.  One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain.”~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Ugly Beautiful Scars

The wound did not heal well. Though it was small with only five stitches, it has healed into an angry red scar with jagged edges. By anyone’s assessment it isn’t pretty.

But to me this angry,red scar is beautiful. This ugly scar is a reminder to me every day that the biopsy was normal – it showed “no residual melanoma”.

Because I recently had the “M” word thrown at me – thrown in my face with a smile and a “you’ll probably be fine”. But is anyone fine when the word “malignant” enters their life? The “malignant” word was the first result of a biopsy of a mole. A  mole that seemed so small. So innocent. So benign.

Only it wasn’t. It was malignant.

And the second visit was to take more skin, find out if the melanoma had spread. It was this visit that produced the ugly scar. I saw the chunk of skin go into a small container, undoubtedly labeled with my name and the source of the tissue. Five stitches closed up the wound. The day the stitches came out was the day I heard the news that this mole had no residual malignancy. The bad tissue was gone, in it’s place an ugly scar.

So this ugly scar is beautiful. Like the scar on the woman’s face that makes her appear slightly deformed – beautiful because it is a survival scar from a fire that could have killed her. Instead every day her husband kisses that scar with all the love a human can possibly feel. Like the scar along the leg of the gentleman, for without it he would have been in the grave six years now. Rather, that angry, ugly scar is a beautiful war wound of survival. Like the ‘bikini’ scar low on a woman’s stomach, a scar that ensured a baby would be born healthy, not deprived of oxygen.

My scar is going to grow in size. They didn’t get enough tissue, and they want to do all they can to make sure the ‘M’ word is gone from my body. It will be long, and red, and initially painful, and beautiful ugly.

And as I lay waiting for a surgeon to look at my skin, to assess that ugly scar, to determine just how much longer and more ugly it needs to be, it comes to me, almost like a physical punch: I can enter eternity because of angry, red scars.

Ugly, brutal, Mount Auburn Cemetery angry, red scars on the hands and feet of the Saviour; the ugly become beautiful offering me a hope. an everyday wonder of grace, an eternity of God.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
    and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5