Sunday, January 24, 2016


I don't make a regular habit of doing so, although as you read this Thought you might get the idea I do, but there are times in my life when I see a mark on my body which brings back to my awareness an event that was accompanied with pain and left a scar.

My oldest visible scar is a jagged irregular thing on my right wrist which my body has retained for 70 years. This one became a mortal reminder of an event which occurred when I was seven years old. Between our home on North Arthur Street in Pocatello, Idaho, and the Church House (that’s what we called them in those days) was what appeared, to adult eyes to be a vacant lot, but in the eye of a brave young adventurer it was a depository of boulders left by a Giant who would one day come and fling them with a sling whose pocket was made of an entire cow hide. One day as I was bravely jumping from one boulder to another I made a ‘rare’ slip and fell between two of the Giant’s pebbles. My right wrist came into contact with a broken soda pop bottle (another word which lost its place in vocabularies a long time ago) or the remnants of a flask the giant had flung in merriment. I soon found myself in the comfort of the Queen of our Palace (mother) who wrapped my wrist in a towel and then applied some Iodex, a sterile pad and a very tight wrapping of adhesive tape. And hence, 70 years later, I retain the jagged reminder of my adventure in the Giant’s pebble ground in my right wrist.

Another very old scar was acquired when I was in my early teens. The inspiration for the event has been lost due to disconnected neurons in my brain. Somehow my cousin Ron Sheldon and I thought it might be a good idea to play chicken on our bicycles. It was before we had a television, and the only show I ever watched at my friend’s house was the cartoon show of Beanie and Cecil, so that couldn't have been the source. Anyway, there we were on Chestnut Avenue in Long Beach, California, riding like knights on steeds toward each other seeing which one would chicken out and turn aside. Before disclosing the results I have to make sure everyone understands the makeup of a Schwinn bicycle. They had fenders which covered the front and back tires, so that you didn't get mud in your face and up your backside when you rode through puddles. Those who frequent the beaches of Southern California have seen replicas of these relics on the walking/biking paths along the beach. Anyway, we had somehow gotten the turn out direction confused in our dumbed down teen minds, because even though we both turned chicken at the same time, we turned into each other’s paths rather than away. The resulting crash left a two inch gash into the front of my left shinbone about 5 inches above the instep of my foot. The front fender of his bike had proven to be an adequate lance. Once again my mother applied an ample smearing of Iodex, a sterile pad and a very tight binding of adhesive tape. And hence, six decades later, I retain a scared indentation.

There were lesser reminders of having made ‘interesting’ choices during my life. Such as a piece of pencil lead which is still faintly visible between the pointy and middle finger of my left hand. There are some dramatic scars which came because of necessity such as the one left from an appendectomy, and a knee replacement. There are scars which remind me of the days when I worked by the sweat of my brow as a wood, wire and metal lather. (Look it up on the internet, it would take too long to explain.

I suspect I am not unique with having tales to tell about where unnatural markings which appear on our bodies came from. I, likewise, suspect that I am not unique in being able to identify times in my life when my soul was scarred by some silly choice I or someone I was acquainted with had made.

For just a brief moment as I was writing this Thought, my mind lingered on the promises of the Savior that though His Atoning Sacrifice, Mercy and Grace the scars made to our souls would be removed, remembered no more and made incorruptible, but I resisted going there, because I believe, at least during mortality, it is good for us to have reminders of the spiritual pain we may have caused ourselves or others because of having made wrong choices.

My obsession about keeping a daily journal for most of my adult life would be an easy way to bring remembrance of my having strayed from the straight path and brought pain to both myself and others, but I find it is seldom necessary to rely on that physical crutch.

Just as when I see children trying to do things their little bodies are not capable of or hearing about teens that are making brain hampered choices or when someone is talking about a similar surgery as I have had, I don't need to check the scars on my body to feel empathetic pain. I, likewise, don't have to repeat bad choices to experience remembrances of spiritual pain I brought upon my soul and perhaps hurt to a brother or sister.

It is at those moments when I am grateful that the Creator put us together in such a way that all through our mortal adventure we would have seen and unseen reminders of choices which it wouldn't be healthful, helpful, wise or righteous to repeat.

I never again jumped from boulder to boulder in a Giant’s pebble pile.

I never again entered into a game of chicken.

Sadly, there have been times when it took several wounds to my soul before I reached the ‘never again’ status.

Hopefully, experience and wisdom will lead me on the path where the soul seldom or at least with less frequency receives self-inflicted wounds.

No comments:

Post a Comment