In addition to the older two, Zachary and Joy have taken up golf on a lesser but still interested level. With some hand-me-down clubs inherited from a variety of places, they too have been playing around in the backyard in their own unique way. And all was going well this summer with no injuries to speak of but then it happened. I wasn't there but I was given the gory details from my wife. Joy swung the club and hit Zachary just above his left eye. According to my sources, the blood was dripping as Zachary ran into the house, shouting to my wife: "Momma, I'm dying..." Sure enough, this wasn't just any old wound but one that unfortunately required a trip to the ER.
Seven stiches and a few hours later, Zachary was home. A brave, courageous seven- year old had faced his greatest fear (all things doctor related) and returned home victorious. Beat up and broken, there was also evidence of popsicles on his face - apparently what hospitals give to kids as they make their way around the victory lap. Recycled toys repackaged as gifts from the neighborhood kids lined the living room floor as Zachary walked through the door. Visibly relieved, it was great to see his face as he walked in and saw the love and support of his troop of friends and family.
Well, after a few days of having them in, today is the day the stiches come out. And after they come out we're still reminded of what's happened for quite some time. The scar from my stiches all those years ago in seventh grade are still there - that day the cow's brain that I was dissecting won. Likewise, Zach will have a lasting scar that will serve as a reminder of the day his sister clubbed him in the head. Nevertheless, the healing has begun.
This little even reminds me of the fact that we all have scars and wounds from our past that remain with us for a long time. Some are physical of course, but many are of the unseen sort, and perhaps more dangerous. They are hard to see and they often surface at the most inopportune of times. Yes, they are subtle but they can cause so much harm to us. The good news is that healing does happen. Over time, those harsh words don't seem so harsh. Over time, the memories grow less memorable and seem to lose their steam. Still, we rarely forget and we rarely gain complete relief. We're left with those memories and those reminders whether we like it or not.
The question as I see it is this: Will we allow these wounds from our past to haunt us forever or will we perservere and find the courage to press on? James tells us to "consider it pure joy...whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." Like Paul's "thorn in the flesh" that God never took away, perhaps our past memories (regardless of how painful they may have been and continue to be) can serve to strengthen us. In fact, I'm confident that it's only when we see them in this way that we'll truly be able to keep on keeping on. It's only when we allow God to use our wounded past to mature us, that we'll actually be able to experience healing. It's only when "the stitches come out," so to speak, that we'll be able to get back in the race and run it as God intends for us.
Today, think on these things... and may God's grace be with you!