Beautiful Scars

My seven year old son Levi is adorable.  Dark brown eyes set below sandy hair with a cowlick off to the side.  "Mommy, why did you lick me when I was a baby?" he has asked more than once, truly thinking I am to blame for the hair not lying down.  He's got light skin with olive under tones and tans easily.  Long lashes, button nose, rounded ears, and a red smile that frames white teeth transitioning from baby to man.

However, none of these things are root of compliments and comments on his sweet appearance.  No, it's ALWAYS about this...see if you can spot it...

His dimple.

Just one one side, unnoticeble unless he's smiling, in which case it takes the spotlight.  Someone recently caught a photo of Levi in mid laugh, and that sweet little dimple is just the star of the show.

It's ironic that this is one of his sweetest features.  He did not have it at birth; it wasn't supposed to be there.  His dimple is a scar.  A scar that formed after a semi-traumatic injury to a then three year old who needed four stitches to mend it.

An amazingly well placed facial laceration.

Just in case you don't believe me...

I have to be honest, I struggled with whether or not to share this picture of Levi, because it's so raw.  I remember the sad emotions and feelings of helplessness and failure.  Watching your children suffer is every parent's kryptonite.  Looking at this picture brings tears to my eyes.

Four years later, this scar is still with him.  And I kind of love it.  A silver lining of the best kinds.  How can it be that his injury made his already adorable self that much cuter.   In a way, physically speaking, a scar actually made him better - added something special to his already great self.

This time last year I went on a cruise. I can't stop reminiscing about how gloriously relaxing and healing that trip was for me.  It was that trip where I realized grief had stopped constantly hurting me and was healing nicely - leaving behind just a scar.  I toured beautiful mountains and seascapes in Maine and Canada, finding great delight in the fact that the cruise sailed North, and that's just where my mental state was finally headed.  It was truly a turning point.

Just like looking at that above picture of Levi - seeing pictures of dark times in my life triggers the sad feelings.  When I see pictures of the beach trip we took after an emotional hurricane and happened to meet face to face with a real hurricane, my heart tugs - those memories are still there. But the memories don't cause me more pain - they just are.  They are part of my scars.

My therapist has often asked if grief, loss, and our adoption journey has changed me.  Yes, resounding yes.  Strangely enough, I grateful for those changes, despite the method at which they were delivered.

I feel stronger.  Stronger emotionally, stronger spiritually.  I am more confident, less easily deceived.  I am more empathetic, more grateful.

Seems like my scars actually made me better - helped me to grow, learn, change.

This picture shows the scars - Levi's dimple, me holding baby J, and on my face I see everything that has changed in me.

Photo cred: Sally Belle Photography, filter added later to keep things vague for Baby J

Isn't this kind of the fascinating tension God has established for us?  He creates something wonderful, but gives us the ability to change it (cultivate it), though sometimes at the cost of destruction.   For example - God created plants like wheat and grapes, which are so pretty on their own, but broken, crushed, and completely destroyed, can yield something else beautiful - bread and wine.

For example - His own Son,  Jesus, created in and lived out perfection, but broken, crushed, and completely destroyed, yielded something else beautiful - redemption for His people.

Seems like His scars made it all better.


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