Friday, August 24, 2012

Frankenstein Scars

I want to be more like my little girl. She played outdoors most of the day today. Her hair was messy. She wore a bright pink t-shirt with glittery ballet slippers on the front, green capri-length scrub pants that belong to a nurse's costume she got when she was 4, and black riding boots that come to her knees. She didn't have a care in the world, and she certainly was unconcerned with her personal appearance. She went on a bike ride around the neighborhood in that outfit. I'm sure, if I had asked, she would have gone anywhere with me today without giving her outfit a second thought.

And then there's me. The girl who had surgery on her head yesterday leaving two Frankenstein scars that look...well...gross. Icky. Disgusting. Ugly.

I have learned something about myself this week, and I don't like it. You see, I have real problems in my life, the kind of problems that you can't share with just anyone, the kind of problems that cause the people who know you best to shake their heads in wonder as they know the only way you are getting by each day is by the grace of God. Real problems.

So, with all these real problems in my life, what was causing me to be upset this week? What was making me anxious and actually moving me to tears? Was it my mother's illness or the upcoming school year or strained relationships or unmentionable problems that would cause even the strongest believer's knees to buckle a little?

Nope. Unfortunately not.

Losing a little hair and Frankenstein scars brought me to tears this week. Vanity.

I am vain.

Sure, go ahead and tell me that it's what's on the inside that counts, and that a little ugly (especially temporary ugliness) isn't important.

The thing is that, obviously, if I'm so concerned about the outside that I was moved to tears more than once in the past two days, then there must be a little more ugly on the inside than I'd like to admit, because I am, indeed, concerned with the outside.

Today is a day that I have realized that, in the midst of all my real problems and the growth the Lord has produced in me in the past year through my real problems, I still have other stuff going on that needs to be addressed, stuff that I can't keep ignoring. I still have work to do. It isn't that I thought I had arrived. I certainly have never even considered that possibility. It's just that, I have real problems, and overlooking my vanity has been easy to do. In the big scheme of things, Frankenstein scars on your head don't matter. Frankenstein scars on your soul? Now those are important. Let's deal with the things that can cause real pain, emotional pain, raw pain, and forget about the things that don't matter, or, at least, stop obsessing about them.

Yesterday, when I walked into my parents' home to pick up my children, my sweet little girl was clearly interested in how the procedure had gone, but she was kind and didn't ask to see it. I showed her anyway, and then she told me that it didn't look bad. It was fine! She was being kind, of course. I am a realist. In that moment, I literally cried on my 8 year old daughter's shoulder while she gave me a hug. Bad parenting? Maybe, but I am grateful for that moment when I was reminded of what really mattered in life.

Some day, I will be thankful for these scars, or so I am told by my dad who has had the same procedure done. Admittedly, I am not there yet, but I will get there. My scars will be covered over by hair in a few months, and no one will even know that I had anything done. Isn't that how it works with our souls too? When God heals our hearts, no one knows what once was there unless we choose to tell them. He makes us new. He grows us. He heals us. For that, I am thankful today, and for my daughter, who is amazing and sweet and kind and loving.

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