by Parker Payne
As I lie in a pile of my own blood, I realize It’s scary how often I live life simply trying not to receive another scar.
So many line my back now that I truly don’t remember what it is like to greet others without covering them up. I have just received fairly fresh wounds and they have not closed. Every interaction is a dance between desire and fear. I desire the community that they offer, but I fear the pain I’ve always known community to bring. I’m too scarred over from previous wounds to trust new people and then I lose my mind in anger when someone even leaves me the slightest scratch. I begin to blame old scars on new wounds, acting as though I am angrier at the new offenders than I have ever been at those who wounded me previously. I send all my wrath and anger on targets who only contribute to a small section of the pain. But fresh wounds always feel more present than scars you’ve learned to live with. And so what? They still stabbed me, they deserve my hatred just as much as I desire to give it to them.
But I don’t truly desire that, do I? Deep down, I know there is one culprit on whom I pin all the blame. The creator. The one who made both the hands that stabbed and the knife they chose to divide my shoulder blades with. It is He that I am truly furious at.
Because he promised me the community that I was naïve enough to believe I would receive. He told me that letting others in was healthy, that I would feel better once I did it. He told me that I wasn’t meant to be alone. Now that I feel truly alone, I look at the offenders with anger in my eyes and I subconsciously direct it towards the creator. As I try to move on toward people who are better for me, I cannot stop looking back at them. I find it difficult to admit that my anger stems from missing the feeling that they genuinely cared about me. I see their faces in every nice gesture, positive that each person will draw blood if I give them the chance. I continue staring at the villains in this story until something catches my eye.
I see blood.
Not mine, theirs. And in their hands is not a knife, but a needle and thread. I come to a realization. While they were not equipped with the necessary tools or knowledge to accomplish their goal, they did not intend to stab me. They were trying to stitch up my wounds, they just weren’t aware of how to treat them. They genuinely tried. I see the hurt in their eyes for the first time. They cut themselves trying to fix me and ignored their own wounds in the process, things I assumed I was sewing together that I actively made worse. Maybe I misunderstood what the creator meant. Maybe I don’t need them because they will heal me. Maybe I need them because getting stitched together is an extremely painful process, and I will need others to lean on as they are sewn up as well. I was never supposed to ask others to heal me, just to accept me as I heal and vice versa. I look up at the creator and realize that He has scars too. Holes in his hands placed by those He loves. I ask how He handled the pain. He told me He would show me. He asked if I was ready to begin and seeing as how I was extremely tired of feeling this way I said yes. I’m starting this journey with no community, but hopefully, others will have joined me by the end of it. I hold my gaze to His scars as He, painfully but skillfully, enters the first stitch.
Parker Payne is a middle school education major at the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, KY. He has been a Christian for several years now and hopes to share what Jesus has done in his life through his writing.