I came home after tending to a foster/adoptive parent recruitment booth at a local church’s celebration of Orphan Sunday, and found my husband squirting something around our wooden dining room table. I paused for a moment and said, “Um…is that toothpaste?”
Before he could answer, I saw what was under the paste. Our 3-yr-old apparently decided that the table needed a little “design” to it, and decided to draw swirly marks up and down the entire table with a black, permanent magic marker.
My husband was furiously scrubbing the paste into the wood in hopes that the ink would lift. The paste lifted the ink a bit, but you can still see the markings.
Surprisingly, I really was not that upset about it. Even now as I stare at the table, I kind of think the marks give it character, and adds to stories I can tell in later years about the antics of our children.
I cannot help but to think about the comparison of our marked up, slightly battered, but full-of-character dinner table to our own stories as human beings. There are days when all is well. Not a mark is left on us, and we rest our heads in peace. There are other days when we stumble into the paths of others whose intent is to hurt us, thus leaving marks on our hearts. We revel in good health, and wonderful relationships, and then suddenly the good health and the people we love leave.
Although healing does come, scars have been left on our lives. The pain fades, but there is still that twinge of remembrance that is left on our souls. Our stories involve so many moments where our lives have been interrupted by trauma, hurt, sickness, loneliness, and despair. However, our stories also embrace moments of laughter, kindness, courage, love, and hope.
Within each of our stories are moments that completely capture the essence of what it is to be human. This, my friends, is what I see as the beauty of life. Like the markings on my table that might never fully go away, the nicks on our lives also may never leave us, but they definitely enrich us.
Do not be afraid of your marks. Share your stories with others. Celebrate your ability to overcome and endure. Do not be ashamed. The scars of your lives might just carry the determination that others desperately need.
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. -Romans 5:35