I was fascinated with the sound, th, th, thth, th, th, thth, as the tip of my shoe toe nipped against the spokes of my mother’s bicycle. I was 4 years old and I loved the feeling the wind in my hair and the warmth of the sun on my back. I was particularly fascinated with the vibrational sound that my shoe made as it flirted with the spinning spokes of the back wheel. It was the early 1970’s long before the safety gear of today’s childhood was in place.
I remember it was a perfectly normal day as I rode around the neighborhood on the back of my mother’s bicycle. Over and over again, th, th, thth, th, th, thth, I ran my toe against the spinning spokes. Then before I knew it I was on the ground, the outside of my left ankle bleeding, my tights torn, and in more pain than I had ever experienced. The wheel had pulled my foot into the spokes which flipped my body and threw me to the ground. My mother swooped me up into her arms and ran me to a neighbor’s house and then she promptly fainted.
The neighbor put me in her car and rushed me to the hospital. We were living on base in Japan and funny things stand out about that incident. I remember that my neighbor gave me a glass of Pepsi to drink in the car to get my mind off the pain. I had never had Pepsi, and for that matter, I don’t think I had ever had pop. The newness was indeed a distraction.
I remember sitting in the ER waiting room trying to put my foot into the bucket of ice water. I couldn’t decide if it was more painful to have my injured foot in the ice or out of the ice. My brother and dad arrived in the ER and my brother brought me a package of Chuckle’s candy. Isn’t it funny the things you remember in crisis?
I wore a cast of my leg for many weeks after the fascination of sound and vibration caused the accident. I remember that my dad had to be my nurse and care for the wound every day. A removable square had been cut out of the cast where my ankle was for my dad to tend to my wound. My dad was a wonderful nurse but I remember feeling sick to my stomach at just the smell of the ointment as he approached to tend to my wound.
For years the scar stood as a reminder of how all actions have consequences. As I grew the scar moved up my leg and away from my ankle until it was eventually virtually unnoticeable.
Scars, whether physical or emotional, all have stories attached to them. And as we grow and change the proximity of the scar to the original wound changes. Childhood physical scars fade by default, but all emotional scars require purposeful growth in order to move the proximity of the scar away from your heart. The further emotional scars are from your heart and thoughts the less power it has to paralyze your life.
My story of scars, healing and redemption is written in the pages of “When I Was Young I Flew the Sun Like a Kite.”