Find the love in your scars. It’s a thought that came to me while I sat in church one Sunday and listened to the sermon. Find the love in your scars.
I should have taken notes, because I don’t remember what the pastor said that made me think of this. I even asked for the Bible passage that was used for it and I’m not sure it connects to this thought. I do know that the topic was “Extravagant Love” and as he spoke, I thought of my dad. If you know my dad, you know there are so many stories that could be shared for that topic. Here’s a little one.
When I look at my feet I think of my dad, not because they look like his (thankfully they don’t), but for a long time he was the caretaker of my feet. When he talks about my birth he holds his hands out as though he’s the doctor holding me. I was curled in a ball and when the doctor uncurled me my feet flopped. He moved one foot into the correct position, and it flopped again.
I was born with clubfoot, which is a condition where the foot is twisted into a different position. Left untreated, it means at some point you’ll be confined to a wheelchair. I’m fortunate enough that I live in a time and a country where this condition can be treated, so all my doctor said was, “We’ll have to fix this.”
And they did. As an infant, my feet were in casts as they moved my feet into the correct position. If you look at my feet now, you wouldn’t be able to tell that I was born with clubfoot. I have really high arches, which I believe is related, but other than that, from the outside my feet look mostly normal. I say mostly because there are small creases in the skin where my feet were twisted at birth.
When I see these creases I think of my dad since he was the one who took care of my feet as a child.
He’s the one who took me to the specialist appointments that I hated to ensure the corrections stayed in place as I grew. He’s the one who checked in to make sure I was doing the foot exercises I was supposed to do to support the health of my foot. He’s the one who took me shoe shopping to make sure the shoes I wore gave the support I needed. He’d bend over each pair I tried on to make sure it was the right fit. (When I bought my dog a pair of boots earlier this year, the first time he saw her with them on he checked the fit of her boots the same way. 💙) He’s the one who took me to the chiropractor whenever I dealt with foot pain that wouldn’t go away on its own.
Even though you wouldn’t know I was born with clubfoot by looking at my feet, it still impacts my life. If you look at an x-ray of my feet you’ll see that they don’t look normal and because of that, I’ve always experienced pain in certain situations. Throughout my life, if I spent too much time on my feet I’d be in pain. Working in retail wasn’t fun. High impact workouts caused a lot of pain. Running was the bane of my existence in gym class at school because it hurt so much, but I was embarrassed by it. Something others could do with ease brought so much pain and it was a constant reminder that I was defective—it was a birth defect, after all.
But one thing that was constant throughout the inconveniences and annoyances, the physical pain and the emotional, was my dad by my side through it all. So when I see these marks on my feet and think through everything that comes along with clubfoot, I see my dad who loved me through it all, who still “holds” his little ball of a daughter and moves her foot when he shares the story of her birth.
FIND THE LOVE IN YOUR SCARS
My dad’s presence in the story of my feet doesn’t make it better. It doesn’t change what I went through—which, again, was/is really small compared to so many other things I could have gone through. But his presence let me know I wasn’t alone. That I had someone by my side. When I see those creases, I sometimes think of all that goes along with my clubfoot, but I always, always, always see my dad.
I found the love in my foot creases.
As funny as that is to write, it’s true. I found the love in my foot creases—the love that made all the difference.
What about the other scars in my life?
What about the scars in your life? Those you can see… and those you can’t. Where’s the love? Who was by your side as you went through the experiences that are part of your story? Who was there to support you when you went through that physical hardship? Who listened as you went through that emotional hardship?
And I know it’s hard. To find people we can trust with our stories. To find people who are actually willing to listen to them. Who will find time for them.
Believe me, I know. It’s one of my greatest annoyances that we’re a species that needs community. I would love to go through this life thing alone. But we do need others. We weren’t made to handle all that life throws at us on our own.
So I hope you can find the love in your scars. These parts of ourselves that don’t define us, but are part of our story. That have helped make us who we are. I hope you can see who was there with you through them. I hope you can see who is with you as go through them. And if you can’t find that love, just know that I’m an email or DM on social media away. I would love to listen to your story.