Friday, May 17, 2013

Scars

Earlier this week during my short commute home from work, I tuned into XM radio to listen to some 90s pop music. An old and former-favorite song was playing. If you are anything like me, certain music can take you right back to a specific point in your life - a moment, a conversation, a look in someone's eye, a feeling...even a smell.

The song "Scars" by Papa Roach was a favorite because it spoke to me, it had great meaning. During the late 90s and into the new millenium I did spend a lot of time numbing my pain and my heart with various poisons and bad decisions. It rang true to me for a long time, this sense of helplessness. Hopelessness. I couldn't escape my feelings or my situation. All I could do was drink/drug/sleep my way through it.

In case you're not familiar with the song, here it is:


Scars (by Papa Roach)


I tear my heart open, I sew myself shut
 My weakness is that I care too much
 And my scars remind me that the past is real
 I tear my heart open just to feel

Drunk and I'm feeling down
 And I just wanna be alone
 I'm pissed cause you came around
 Why don't you just go home
 Cause you channel all your pain
 And I can't help you fix yourself
 You're making me insane
 All I can say is

[Chorus:]

 I tear my heart open, I sew myself shut
 My weakness is that I care too much
 And our scars remind us that the past is real
 I tear my heart open just to feel

I tried to help you once
 Against my own advice
 I saw you going down
 But you never realized
 That you're drowning in the water
 So I offered you my hand
 Compassions in my nature
 Tonight is our last stand

[Chorus]

I'm drunk and I'm feeling down
 And I just wanna be alone
 You shouldn't ever come around
 Why don't you just go home?
 Cause you're drowning in the water
 And I tried to grab your hand
 And I left my heart open
 But you didn't understand
 But you didn't understand
 Go fix yourself

I can't help you fix yourself
 But at least I can say I tried
 I'm sorry but I gotta move on with my own life
 I can't help you fix yourself
 But at least I can say I tried
 I'm sorry but I gotta move on with my own life


Over time, I did finally tear my heart open. I had to. Even long after I'd left behind my days of Sparkly Oblivion, I still struggled regularly with the ability to forgive myself. The quotes and Hallmark cards about your past belonging in the rear-view mirror are fine and dandy but in real life, where I live, I needed a whole lot of grace and strength in order to move on.  I was angry at God, angry at myself, but more than those things I was TIRED.  Exhausted, really.  Anger and frustration and self-deprication are so truly exhausting. I wanted to so badly, once and for all, to be done with it. To be done with the life I had been living, and LIVE the life I've been blessed with. I wanted to be able to leave my past exactly where it belonged - in the past. Because even though I knew in my heart of hearts that God had already forgiven me for the sins of my past, I was the one who kept bullying myself and beating myself up over it.

Early last year, tuning into XM radio to my favorite Christian station, I heard a different version of the song "Scars". It didn't sound like Papa Roach though. You know that overwhelming emotional feeling, where there is just that immediate emotional/spiritual/soul-shaking "ah-ha" moment, it sucker- punches you in a good way - in that butterflies-in-the-stomach and oh-my-gosh-I-have-goosebumps-everywhere way? Yeah, this version of the song "Scars" did exactly that to me. This was my "ah-ha" moment. It spoke to me, it rang true to me, and had all the meaning in the world. Because of this song, tearing my heart open was so much more painless and freeing than Papa Roach made it seem. This song released so much pent-up, self-directed anger, hurt, and frustration in my heart - it was like removing a 200lb weight from my chest. I could breathe!

I don't even have to hear this song (although it plays regularly on my iPod), just reading the words or singing/humming it to myself is so comforting...such a blessed reminder of the hope and healing we have in Christ.  I hope you, too, are blessed by this amazing, soul-freeing song:


Scars (by Jonny Diaz)


She holds for dear life to the ends of the sleeves in her hands,
 Covering up lies that she wrote with a razor sharp pen,
 And the sting of the blade is no match for the pain of the loneliness she's going through,
 But we've all been there too.

Praise God we don't have to hide scars
 They just strengthen our wounds, and they soften our hearts.
 They remind us of where we have been, but not who we are
 So praise God, praise God we don't have to hide scars

 You can still see the mark on his hand where there once was a ring
 He watched decades of history dissolve when she wanted to leave
 And the hole that it left there inside of his chest
 Is a canyon a thousand miles deep
 We all know how that feels.

 Praise God we don't have to hide scars
 They just strengthen our wounds, and soften our hearts.
 They remind us of where we have been, but not who we are
 So praise God, praise God we don't have to hide scars

 There once was a King who so burdened with grief
 Walked into death so that we could find peace
 He rose up with scars on his hands and his feet
 By them we are healed, by them we are healed.

So praise God we don't have to hide scars
 Yeah we know his are covering ours
 Praise God we don't have to hide scars
 They just strengthen our wounds and they soften our hearts
 They remind us of who we have been, but not who we are
 So Praise God we don't have to hide scars.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Perspective

Friday, May 10, 2013 marked one year since my mother lost her battle with cancer. She was 57 years old. I wasn't sure how I wanted to spend the day - at work to stay distracted? Home in bed to have a self pity party? I decided that Mom would be most honored by me and my small family taking a break from the daily grind, and spending some quality time together. The weather was beautiful so we decided to head to the zoo.

My daughter is now old enough (22 months) to be truly excited about things like the zoo. I spent a lot of time just watching her take it all in; pointing up to the monkeys, imitating their sounds and waving to them saying, "Hiiiii!!!". That sparkle of excitement in your child's eye is just priceless. In those moments they are just wholly and genuinely excited - so young and untainted by the pain and worry that often comes with life as we get older. I tried hard to mirror that joy, that excitement, letting it drown out the noise of "real life".

After seeing the monkeys and petting some farm animals, we headed to the carousel. I got in line for tickets and found myself in a small group of children who were there on a field trip. I'd say they were in third grade. What caught my attention was a little girl in line with a chaperone. He made a comment having to do with Mother's Day, to which she replied, "I don't have a mother". The chaperone, clearly stuck in an awkward moment of "totally didn't expect that, what do I do/say now??" started fumbling for his words and said, "I'm sorry, I didn't know". "Please don't talk about it anymore, ok?" she pleaded. Saved by the lady behind the glass calling them as next in line, no further words were spoken on the subject.

As I observed that brief and uncomfortable conversation, my immediate reaction was to hold that little girl in my arms and just comfort and cry with her. Having no idea if her mother had died, abandoned or left her, I sensed such unresolved feelings of sadness and anger I wanted so badly to make her feel better. But because in today's day and age touching a child you do not know can be construed as assault or attempted kidnapping, I instead chose to pray for her, that there would be someone in her life to help her precious little heart towards healing.

It wasn't until later that night, laying in bed thinking about the day that I realized there was something to be acknowledged. God had given me a huge blessing. He gave me 33 years with my mother - 33 years to grow up with her, make mistakes, marry the wrong guy and eventually the right one, all the while experiencing her unconditional love. Most importantly, she got to meet, hold and love her very first granddaughter. I had 33 years of life with her!

I was not looking forward to Mother's Day weekend, but was able to find some comfort in the many memories I have of her, and the knowledge that as my daughter gets older, I will have 33 years worth of "Grammy" stories to share with her. She may not remember meeting her, but she will surely grow up knowing her. Friday was a much-needed reminder to me that blessings truly can be found in any situation. We just need to be willing to look at life from a different perspective.