I have a scar on my foot from when I was twelve and had chicken pox. It’s still with me; a reminder of how I had the sores on my feet and had to crawl on my hands and knees to get around. That experience has not gone unnoticed; it has literally re-shaped my body, if only in this small way.
But it’s also re-shaped my mind–my idea of illness, my childhood thoughts about my body, ideas about vulnerability or weakness, even of the care of a family for the sick.
That’s why our scars matter. That’s why we talk about metaphorical “scars”. It’s interesting that scar tissue isn’t quite the same as the tissue that was once there before. The tissue that forms is made up of the same material, but often oriented in a different way. Scar tissue can be more vulnerable.
What I love abou this is that our scar tissue truly is who we are–made of the same material–and yet it is not who we are–it isn’t put together the same way. We are host to these experiences (both physical, emotional, mental, spiritual) that scar us, but they are not who we are.
We are the image of God. We only become our scars when we cling to them and try to make them our personhood.