A few weeks ago, I sliced the end of my finger off. Completely off. It bled and bled and bled. A lot. Anyway, when it started to heal (it’s almost there) I realized that the print on that finger will forever be changed. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe not. Either way, it’s forever different from before. A few weeks ago, I had some skin lesions biopsied. They were benign. I already have had two melanomas surgically removed, so I can’t be too careful, you know.
Anyway, these scars represent hard life lessons learned. 1) Don’t get fingers near a mandolin food slicer 2) Don’t stay out in the sun without sunscreen. (I sat out in the sun a lot as a teenager and now paying the price.) These scars join their brothers and sisters on my body— many that are almost as old as I am. Accidents. Surgeries. Child births. Childhood foolhardiness—and diseases. And every scar has a story to tell.
Between my eyes there’s a divot left behind by chicken pox. A subtle reminder that I’m vulnerable to maladies of every kind and to do as much prevention as I can. A 2-inch scar on my thigh reminds me to be careful when climbing a makeshift ladder into a neighbor’s treehouse. If my scars could speak!
I’m constantly amazed at how the human body is able to regenerate tissue. It’s the only machine I know of that can fix itself. However, it will leave a reminder that it isn’t built to last forever.
Life, in these bodies, is fleeting and oh so temporary. Think about it. Every prophet, every saint, every hero—or villain has or will leave this physical body behind. Everyone. So why do I hang onto the transitory things of this life when I’ve got a long (eternal) one waiting for me? Why do I stress about everyday physical things? Here’s a lyric to a hymn I’ve always liked: Softly and Tenderly. This is the third verse.
Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,
passing from you and from me;
shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,
coming for you and for me.
That lyric may sound morbid or it might sound preachy, as if warning the listener that death is just a breath away. But it is. We have friends and family who were alive one minute and dead the next. Fragile.
Author and pastor Rick Warren wrote: “You weren’t put on earth to be remembered. You were put here to prepare for eternity.”