Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Blessing of a Scar

One of the "blessings of blogging" is the opportunity to share things that have touched our hearts with the world of cyberspace. Fellow blogger friend (who shares my name) David tells this heart-tugging story of his upbringing and his scars. Check out David's site at: http://www.davidbarnett.blogspot.com

David writes:

The following is an article I wrote several years ago that was originally published in the www.adoptionjewels.org newsletter:

As Father's Day nears, I am going to spend some time on the blog reflecting on fatherhood. A scar is the signature of a painful event in the life of the body. It is a reminder that informs us that we are not always in control of our lives. I have many scars. Scars on my hands from bee stings received while playing hide and seek; a scar on the lower right side of my abdomen created by a surgeon’s scalpel to remove an angry appendix; and a scar on my left arm as a result of being “cleated” while playing football. Of all my scars, I have a favorite, the scar on my left knee. When I was almost three years old, I was running through the house and tripped and fell on my sister's toy sewing machine. It was made out of metal and had a sharp edge on the base. The gash was severe and the blood began to flow. My father took a sheet, began ripping it, and wrapped my knee to stop the bleeding. What I remember most was sitting in his lap with my mummified leg, being comforted by his big hands.

I will never forget his hands. Those hands are embellished in my mind as a visual reminder of my father's love. Tragically, those hands were taken away from me a very short time after this event. My father died in a one-car accident, four days before Christmas, leaving a wife and three small children behind. One of the local newspapers reported that he hit a sign post at a high rate of speed, leaving no skid marks. As often happens when a parent dies, one tragic event sends a ripple, or more like a tidal wave through the lives of family members. We didn't have any support systems in place and my mother was unable to care for us due to her poor physical and emotional health. She began telling neighbors that she had killed my father. Child protective service was notified.

My sister, brother, and I were sent to an emergency shelter and my mother was admitted to the hospital for psychiatric evaluation and care. We spent the next eighteen months in and out of an orphan’s home and in foster care. My mother struggled to retain her parental rights, but became involved with another man. As a result of a brief relationship, she gave birth to my sister. Four children, under the age of six, to care for was too much for my mother. Feeling threatened by child protective services, she decided it was best to give us to her older sister who lived 280 miles away. My aunt was single, and addicted to alcohol and sex. Again, we were living with someone who could not take care of herself, much less take care of four needy children.

The next two years included almost all forms of child abuse imaginable. This chapter in our lives ended when our aunt died of liver failure."What do you do with four children who have been abandoned, living in essence by themselves?" was the question the neighbor across the street had. She decided to call a nearby church. The church secretary, who received the call, immediately went to check out the situation. The youngest child, now two, was the only one at home. With her big brown eyes and malnourished tiny body, she charmed the church secretary to the point of no return.

Later that evening, the secretary of the Eastridge Church of Christ in Ft. Worth, along with her husband, came and picked us up. We were now a part of a family that included a mom, dad, three older sisters, and a dog named Poochie. Without the aid of any social workers, therapists, or anyone who had any understanding of what it was like to adopt older abused children, the next twelve years were to say the least -- challenging. However, in-spite of the continuation of the affects of the tidal wave, and without the aid of any adoption professionals, four orphaned children stayed together, became a part of a family, and were all introduced to the One who “by his wounds we are healed.”

Yes, scars remind us of a painful past, but they can also lead our minds to a peaceful present. My “favorite scar” reminds me of what God has brought me through. Also, when I see my hands, it often takes me back to my birth father holding and comforting me. It is with this memory that my heart connects with the words of the Apostle Paul who understood the blessings of a difficult life: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." II Corinthians 1:3-4

1 comment: