The poet and singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen has written: "Children show scars like medals. Lovers use them as secrets to reveal. A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh."
From the top of my head to the bottom of my feet, my body is a historical archive on which a number of dramatic, and often thoughtless, moments are memorialized in scar tissue.
None of these wounds to the flesh resulted from my engagement in any kind of battle. They were peacetime injuries that spoke to me about something I needed to hear at that time.
The scar on the crown of my head is visible now that I am bald. It came in an automobile accident when I was in a car with four college classmates that skidded on a patch of ice, flipped over, rolled down a hill, and crashed into a tree. The doctors at the hospital told me I was a lucky fellow to have survived: if the gash had been a smidgeon larger, I would have died.
Although for a long time this scar was out of sight, it has never been out of mind. It is a warning to live to the fullest since death can come at any time.
The scar on my chin is from a spill I took when riding my bike down a hill and not paying attention to where I was going. I was too young then to know about single-mindedness but now I am behind it 100%.
The scar on my left hand is from a nail that pierced my finger. The memory of the making of this wound is humorous. A neighbor had to drive me to the hospital while my nail pieced finger was still attached to the stick holding the nail; stick, nail, and hand were hung out the car window. Although I still love to improvise, this incident taught me not to do it so carelessly.
The scar on my left leg is from a fall on jagged rocks in Antigua where I was rushing to get to a high spot on a hill to see the turquoise blue ocean. It has taken me a lifetime to learn to slow down.
My most visible scar is from abdominal surgery for an aortic aneurysm. It runs from my chest to my groin and is quite an impressive
souvenir of a very serious operation. I look at it and give thanks for excellent medical care.
The novelist Cormac McCarthy tells us: "Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real." Yes, and I am grateful for these spiritual reminders!