You know that tough military guy on the movie, Avatar? The one with the claw scars across his face? You knew he had seen action.
Or Harry Potter? The one with the lightning scar on his forehead? He was forever marked as "the boy who lived".
I was talking with my new friend, Scott Gaffen, who works at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center and is also an actor and producer. We were musing about how our experiences as actors, marked by a lot of rejection and "failures", have shown us that disappointments--scars--can be a source of strength.
It's tempting to want to play it safe. I really get that. If you want to keep your body from scars, you could stay at home all day. If you wanted to keep your heart from scars, you could do the same. It's tempting to play it safe.
But what do you miss if you miss out on pain?
I have a huge scar on my right knee. In 2004, I was working as--get this--a medic at Camp Lone Star in LaGrange, Texas, and I was running across a field as part of a most beloved all-camp game called Dare Base. I was heading toward my team's jail, running closer and closer to the spot where I'd be able to grab someone's hand and set that prisoner free. The sun was hot, the enemy was all around, and I was running as fast I could when I heard a "pop" and looked down to see the bottom part of my leg hyperextend, kicking farther forward than it should have. I was down. I had torn my ACL.
And one major reconstructive surgery later, I have a gigantic line down the front of my knee and a story to tell. A story about really living. I am proud of that scar, as un-model-like as it looks in a dress. It's beautiful because it proves that I haven't watched life go idly by. (Side note: I tore the other ACL this January when I took a chance and went skiing for the first time in ten years. I don't regret it.)
Christian speaker Beth Moore--God bless that southern sister--explained in her Bible study, Breaking Free that our scars become our ministries. She cited the special way in which God has used her to reach out to broken people because she herself was broken as a child by sexual abuse. That pain now has a purpose, and her scars now have a story to tell of reconstruction and healing.
So, what's my point? Go out and get some scars. Live. You won't regret it. What field are YOU ready to run across, that you've held back on because of the fear of pain? I'm not saying that all dreams must or should happen, but I do believe that many that should, don't.
I love this quote from Anais Nin; it was on a card given to Chris and me when we were leaving to teach in China, and it held a place on my wall for several years:
"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
That day the sun was hot, the enemy was all around, and He was walking closer and closer to the spot where He'd be able to set the prisoners free.
You know Jesus? The one with the nail scars on his hands? He is forever marked as the one willing to die...
so that we might go out and LIVE.