Choosing to See Something Different

We were taking a day trip from Zimbabwe’s capital to Mutare, another city about 4 hours away, when we heard a loud, “Pop!” Then screams filled the air.

In a Flash

Eleven years ago, I was in a car accident while visiting family in Zimbabwe. The back tire burst, sending the vehicle into an uncontrollable meander across the median. Slamming into the ridge beside the road, the vehicle overturned, smashing in the roof and windows before coming to a rest on its side. I was almost 4 months pregnant with my second child.

There were 10 people in the minivan, including my then 8-month-old daughter Janelle. Because this type of vehicle we were in is generally designed for public transport, the only seat belts installed were for the driver and the front passenger. 

The Crash

Upon impact, bodies went flying everywhere. I remember screaming and calling out for my daughter. A family member was holding Janelle at the time of the accident. As soon as the minivan came to a stop, I heard Janelle crying, but I couldn’t see her. Within seconds of the crash, I heard the sound of people running towards us yelling, “Are they alive? Get them out! Get them out, now!” I thought the van was on fire. I was still calling Janelle’s name, and then finally I heard a voice above all the commotion, “I’ve got her. I’ve got Janelle. She’s Ok.”

One by one, the good Samaritans pulled us out of the wreckage. My back and my ankle ached, and I remember seeing blood and glass scattered everywhere. That’s when I saw the blood running down my leg. I didn’t know where I was bleeding from. Then I saw it, a nasty gash on the outside of my knee. It was a deep and ugly cut, and the sight of open flesh intensified the pain.

At the hospital, the doctor cleaned out my wound which contained a mixture of blood, glass, tiny pebbles, and sand. It hurt like crazy, but it was necessary. I kept crying out and telling him to stop.  “I can’t,” he said calmly. “If I do, it will get infected.” This wound would be the death of me, I was sure. Once he was done cleaning out the wound, he inspected it and said something that seemed so odd at the time.
“Beautiful! This is a beautiful wound,” he said emphatically.
Beautiful? Great,” I thought to myself. “There’s nothing beautiful about this open wound.”
He proceeded to numb the area by injecting a local anesthetic – which hurt too. Then with precision, he stitched up the cut while I hollered in the background.

A Different Perspective

Now, many years after the healing is complete, I, too, am just as strange as that doctor because I can examine my scar and say, “Beautiful! This is a beautiful scar.” When I look at my scar, I choose to see the beauty of it. What some view as an ugly woven cluster of scar tissue is, to me, the most beautiful part of my body because my scar is a lovely reminder of the day I could have died, lost my daughter, my unborn baby, or another family member, but I didn’t. My scar is even more beautiful because it’s a wound that doesn’t hurt anymore.

I have other scars, and plenty of wounds – most of which are invisible to others. They lie deep in my heart. But don’t cry for me. Just like the wound on my leg healed, my inner wounds will heal and serve as reminders of important life lessons. And one day, they won’t hurt anymore.
So wear your scars and be proud of them. The cut you suffered when something or someone hurt you so deeply that you bled from your soul won’t be a painful wound forever. My leg will never look the way it did before my accident. Similarly, life never looks the same after you’ve been hurt. But if you take the right steps and protect your wound while it heals, that wound that is bleeding so profusely right now and is so unbearably painful that you shun even the very people that try to help, will turn into a pain-free, beautiful scar. Scars are beautiful because they are wounds that used to hurt, but don’t anymore.


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  1. 1

    I love this kind of thinking. Surely our wounds will heal…. And though the scars will always be there, they won’t hurt anymore

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