I really need black shoe polish. Or do I?
That scuff mark, boot scar, brings back a painful memory, a fond memory, a hilarious memory. Yeah, a memory can comprise all those feelings. The bad can be good if we look through the right lens.
It all started the day I fell in McDonald's parking lot on the way to church ... Lottie Moon offering day, a year ago. We had just received a good ice storm, and more than wallets and pancakes were flipped that day. After landing on my stomach, 0 to 60, I arrived at church with a busted and bleeding chin, a cut knee, a bruised body, torn jeans, teary eyes.
"Did you inform the restaurant owners?" someone asked.
"No, I love McDonald's." I smiled. "I don't blame them. It wasn't their fault."
And every Sunday morning as we arrive there to eat pancakes before church, we all point to the place by the curb where I fell and proclaim, "And there ... there I fell." We smile. We laugh. The girls roll their eyes over our silliness. Relief overcomes. Gratefulness overcomes.
My beloved, scarred jeans hang in the closet. They were my favorite pair.
I don't pull them out too much these days because I'm from that generation that doesn't purposely wear holes in their clothes ... and that's an issue hard to overcome.
It wasn't long after the fall that my appendix had to be removed (and three more minor organs due to the appendix infection). And regardless of what any doctor says, I'll always wonder if the two incidents were connected. If one caused the other. So when I see my boot and denim scars, not only do I remember the fall, but I remember the surgery scars, as well. They were so closely together.
And with those scars, I don't remember only the bad. I remember the healing. And why, when I was in that hospital, my big-as-a-grizzly-bear, soft-hearted-as-a-Teddy-bear uncle drove three hours to visit and bring me flowers. He still calls me "baby" and uses a voice with me like he's talking to a small child. Tender. Caring. He came all that way because he loved me.
Another man came all that way because He loved me, too. Because He loved you. Not just any man. A God-man. Jesus. "For God so loved the world" began in Heaven and descended to a manger scene.
He hung "there" scarred in both hands and both feet. Damaged. Torn. His scars remain. No, they are not covered over. Jesus' scars are scarlet reminders forever covering our wrongs made right.
A mixture of feelings co-exist. Heart pain for His journey, but gratefulness for my journey. Why, there'd be no John 3:16 without Him.
Do you wonder how He feels about it? When He sees the scars, does He think of you and me? Would He take the fall for our fall again? Does He look, point to the spot, and say, "And there ... there I fell"? Does He look through His eternal lens and say, "It wasn't their fault. I don't blame them. Why, I love them"? And then smile.
Father, thank you for the manger scene. Thank you for the cross. Thank you for hope.