Scars are not bars!

By Kent Wessinger

No one is exempt from decisions that go dreadfully awry; therefore, the response to the scars of the past are life’s most significant decisions. As many can testify, scars can be bars that impede our growth or lessons that establish a beautiful new chapter of life. Choose the response carefully, the decision is greater than the moment; it shapes the generations that follow.

Six years ago, I was feverishly trying to complete my cottage by the sea. Three years of intense labor was quickly becoming a fulfilled dream just after dark on a cool January evening. The completion of the outdoor kitchen would establish my seaside cottage as a true Caribbean residence surrounded by tropical foliage, covered by a large tin roof, and framed with a panoramic view of pristine mountains.

Eager to place the final piece of mahogany molding into position, I rushed down steps to reach my table saw under the cottage. Since I had used the saw in that position hundreds of times over the last few years, I knew with exact precision where the saw was located and how it operated; therefore, I chose to use the sparse rays of light coming from up in the kitchen instead of turning on the light under the cottage. As the wood was passing through the saw, I slightly adjusted my footing and slipped off the rail-less deck, falling backward off the 6-foot high structure into the bush.

Before I fell, I tried to catch myself by extending my left hand toward anything solid. When I landed flat on my back, instant pain shot through my back and hand. When I stood to my feet and ran toward the light, I was horrified! My left thumb was gone! The palm of my hand was cut all the way through, halfway across. Blood was spewing like a broken dam with every beat of my heart. The sight of my maimed hand quickly drove me into a state of shock.
The saw blade cut the thumb from the tip through the palm, leaving no bone remaining; the surgical team recommended one of three options. Cut away the mangled skin and have no thumb, transplant my big toe to my hand or reconstruct a thumb with bone from my hip. I chose the third option. Although the thumb would be significantly flawed with a deformed nail and a repulsive scar, it would represent pain, process and restoration.

Life can be defined through poor decisions that leave repulsive scars. However, those scars can represent a life bound by the scars of the past or a life that has overcome pain, walked through a process of healing and living out the beauty of restoration. It’s our choice, choose LIFE!

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