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10-03-16-tracing-life-image“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” – Confucius

When I was a little boy, I loved to sit on my dad’s lap when he got home from work. We’d talk, watch television together or I’d sit while he read the paper after a long day.

Regardless of what we were doing, I often traced the veins on the top of his hands with my fingers, too.

Because he was an athlete in school and served in the military, Dad had strong hands with protruding veins. Sitting with him, held in that embrace, I always felt safe, protected, secure, loved.

One particular and peculiar concern of mine after being burned as a child was related to my acute awareness of the brokenness of my hands. All of my fingers were amputated; my hands were left with thick, red scarring. I knew the experience I relished with my dad would never be one my future children could have with me.

I had not thought about that memory or childhood concern in years. But a recent experience rekindled those thoughts.

My youngest child, Grace, just four, was sitting on my lap. As she sat on my lap her little index finger began tracing me. No, she wasn’t tracing veins, but scars.

Grace started focusing on one in particular. She kept going around and around. It felt like she was making a little circle.

Then she said, “Out of all of them, I love this one the most. It looks just like a heart. You’re lucky, Daddy.”

I looked down at her finger, then at the scar.

And for the first time I noticed this specific scar on my right arm. Sometimes things become such a part of us, we don’t realize they are there. But alas, there, on my right arm – where a collection of scars came together as one – was the unmistakable shape of a heart.

I looked away from it, back at her, and acknowledged, “You’re right, Grace. I sure am lucky.”

My friends, Grace thinks I am lucky because I have scars that cover my body and one that actually forms the shape of a heart on my arm.

But the real reason I’m fortunate is that, not only do I have the wholesome vision of children in my life to call out the beauty in my scars, but I have finally grown to accept and celebrate the beauty of them myself.

In life, it’s easy to see wrinkles, challenges, difficulties, and scars as ugly. It’s common to consider them reminders of all we went through in the past and wish we didn’t have to endure in the present.

Today, my friends, I challenge you to choose to see them through a different lens. Today, be aware of where you’ve been, grateful for where you are, and convinced that the best is yet to come. <Tweet this> | <Share on Facebook>

We are lucky.

For everything has beauty. And everyone who wishes can choose to see it.

This is your day. Live Inspired.

What is something that you see beauty in today? Please share it in the comments below.

15 replies on “Tracing Life”

Just listened to this week’s Vlog on it’s Never just a bird. What a great memory and lesson for us all. I am often taken to a place of compassion and empathy when I think about me fellow man with this statement in mind similar to the theme of what you learned in your bird scenario, “behind each face is a drama”. I am inspired then to look at them differently to look for ways to explore their drama or encourage them with God’s love in the midst of whatever events they are facing. Thanks so much for what you do weekly to put you and your thoughts and ideas out there to encourage and inspire. I too do the same each week but need my soul refreshed also so thanks for playing that role in my life.

I was in a terrible car accident 30+ years ago. My ankle was crushed. It took a lot of metal to put it back together again. I’m still reminded of that difficult time by occasional post-traumatic arthritis pain. It definitely doesn’t look like the other ankle and is very scarred. My scars remind me today of a battle fought and won. I now find beauty in them because I can walk in spite of the serious damage done!! Walking is a great thing as you well know, John!! And I never, ever take it for granted!!

Thank you for writing back and for introducing me to the ignition statement, I can definitely use this to help get my day moving in the right direction

Hi John I currently am a restaurant owner and am having a tough time making ends meet , along with motivating myself to keep pressing though an continuing the business. If there is anything that you could do to help me please reach out to me. Thank you

I see beauty in your beautiful words and the fantastic role model you are to your children, and all of us. Your story of Grace and the heart made from scars is a special tribute to you and your life. I’ve always believed God has a reason for everything, and your life is a tru example of that. . You are blessed, as are al of us who
read your exciting and inspirational words about life. Thank you.

My daughter, who has scars on her head from the removal of a malignant brain tumor, says scars show that something tried to hurt you and you were stronger than it was!

I see beauty in the way my son with autism sees the world around him. In therapy, he has been learning that we greet people with “Hello, what is your name?” He is so excited when they respond and ask him his name. About a year ago he could not form a sentence and today he is greeting people everywhere we go. It makes people smile and that is beautiful.

Today I saw beauty in the joy of watching my grandson peacefully do his homework at my house while we listened to my daughter’s new puppy (Gus) snoring in the kitchen. Thanks John for giving me new insights in my daily life.

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