Monday, March 23, 2015

Of Scars and Stories (The Cathedral: A Reprise)

Of Scars and Stories 

People with scars are the most beautiful things in the world. Without them, we are like an eye that has never shed a tear, or a tongue that has never bathed in laughter. A night sky, without a single star.
Scars represent struggles. They reveal something deep and real and beautiful, even though we cringe, and feel our stomachs turn at the sight of them. Struggles are stories. And stories are life.
Not all scars are visible. Some of them linger, just under the surface, or some deep down, where light has never touched. But all people have scars.
They are proof of life past and life to come. Road-markers. Reminders. Like day-dreams and dog-eared pages. Scars are our way of saying “I’ve made it this far. (And maybe I can make it a little farther, yet.)”

The truth is that we are all jars of clay. Earthen bones, vessels pulled from the ground, more breakable than glass and cheap as dirt. We are easily broken, body and soul. And like clay jars, whenever we are cracked or chipped or outright shattered, what hides inside us is revealed.
And like the things of dust that we are, we weren’t made for shelf life, either—we expire much too quickly for that. We weren’t made for mint condition—we gave that up the moment we took our first breath.
We were made for trenches. We were made to be broken open, and prove what is inside us. Made to rocket through the world like a penny, collecting grime and fingerprints from a thousand places, and to be rattled clean at the end. We ricochet like bullets, in our little, orbiting lives, racing from one moment to the next with hardly time for pause.
Scars are stories. Stories are scars.
Stories written in skin and soul and etched in the sinews of the heart. We are scars on the skin of this hurtling sphere, living scars, histories and memories and salt.

So roll up your sleeves, or pull off your shirt. Tear off your mask, and show me all of the grime and the claw-marks on your face, from when you were close enough to feel the devil's breath. Get rid of anything that hides you. Show me your scars and I will show you mine. Show me the signs that tell where you’ve been, and a glimpse of your tattered heart, so I can see where you’re going. Pin them to your chest like medals, badges of weakness, signs not of what storms you survived, but of what your faithful captain has brought you through. 
Show me your scars, and tell me your stories. I’ll show you mine, like He showed me His. Mine gruesome and gaping and rotten, the holes left behind by chains, peeled, tugged and pried from my flesh.
His only three—made by nails, and a spear. And yet, His scars and mine share the same story.
The Story of a God who spoke a universe, who forged every moment and watched every one of them poisoned. A God who suffered every ounce of pain he witnessed, who watched his bride kidnapped and ravaged and who did not remain idle. A God who entered this world through a woman to relieve the curse of all mankind. A universal God, who folded himself into a child, and grew to break the curse.
He died to prove His infinite love—and he rose again to prove His infinite power.
God was poured out, into a clay jar of its own. A shallow, breakable body, cracking in the cold and baking in the sun. He who spoke the earth into being and drew life from its emptiness, humbled to fill that which he drew from the ground, spinning on this temporal potter’s-wheel. When that jar was splintered, the light spilled out; all the light of heaven, the light of truth and goodness. It lit up the universe, with a story. A struggle, between light and dark, that was over.
And that glow was poured out, into all of those fragile vessels called to His service, to burn inside them.  Vessels of clay, full of heaven’s treasure. With every crack, we release the light that we contain, until we shine like lamps in the darkness. With every scar, with every hurt, every hardship, we prove not the light of what is in us. But who is in us. 
Every time we are broken, body and soul, we become not something more whole—but something more wholly His. Something a little more like the treasure entrusted to us.  
We are vessels of clay, sculpted to tell stories. Made to be scarred. Made to point to something all our lives, and to keep on pointing, at their end. For through our scars, our struggles, our stories, we reveal something more about the healer, the overcomer, and the storyteller.
And the truth is that my story and His have the same character. And it sure isn’t me.
My scars speak of Him. Because His scars speak of me.

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