BREAKING DOWN THE SCAR TISSUE
It began early last summer when I had my water skis on waiting for the boat to be ready. When I shouted, “Go!” – everything seemed good. But then things didn’t go well and I wrenched my left shoulder hard. On the next attempt, I felt a fire shoot down my right elbow. The afternoon ski session ended before it began.
For the past year, that sore left shoulder and tender right elbow got in the way of many of the things I like do to at the lake and in the gym. I assumed that neither would ever be right again. I began to adjust to the thought of a life with a tender elbow, a sore shoulder, and no water skiing. I diagnosed myself with a rotator cuff problem and tendinitis. My sports medicine physician disagreed with my diagnosis and he sent me for physical therapy.
What happened next was unexpected. I think of it as a miracle.
The problem is scar tissue
The physical therapist said she thought it was scar tissue. She explained that scar tissue had built up, and that scar tissue isn’t as flexible as tendon and muscle. So when the muscles and tendons are working, the scar tissue is this inflexible stuff and it pulls…refuses to stretch.
“How did the scar tissue get there?” I asked.
She explained that over the years, as I ran or exercised or skied or played sports, the muscles had suffered some injuries and scar tissue had resulted. So now the scar tissue was pulling and refusing to budge when the muscles were attempting to do their thing.
The scar tissue needs to be broken down
“The scar tissue needs to be broken down,” she explained to me.
And then she did just that. She used a small, rigid instrument and ran it along the inside of my elbow and over my shoulder. I could feel the tool “bouncing” over the bumps of scar tissue. It was almost like dragging a small stick over gravel.
This went on for less than ten minutes.
“We’ll start breaking down the scar tissue,” she said, “and then new tissue that is more flexible will have a chance to grow.”
The tenderness in my right elbow was gone. My shoulder is already much better, and I am finding it possible to do in the gym what had been impossible just a week ago. I’m looking at the 2018 calendar and thinking about how soon I can get out on the water and ski again!
I’ll tell my therapist, at my next appointment, that what she has done is nothing short of miraculous. I’m so grateful!
Scar tissue in other areas of life
I’ve been thinking about scar tissue.
I’ve been thinking about scar tissue in other areas of our lives.
I’ve been thinking about places in our hearts and heads and souls where we have been wounded. Someone said something to us, someone or some social system did something which deeply wounded us. There is always the possibility that scar tissue will form where we have been wounded.
We become less adaptable.
We become less able to adjust to changes, new realities and the ups and downs of life. After all, life is always about change. Things happen we do not expect. Things happen we do not want. The cosmos is beautiful and amazing, but the cosmos is not fair.
Maybe you know someone who finds it almost impossible to trust.
Maybe you know someone who is off-course because things like money, power, beauty, control or status mean more than those things should ever mean to a soul.
Maybe you know someone who is driven by fear and insecurity. They go through life as if they were still five years old and worried about the monster beneath the bed.
Maybe you know someone who thinks forgiveness is a sign of weakness, and they hold onto every hurt, every slight, and every wound as if those experiences of hurt and betrayal were a family heirloom. They are constantly replaying what happened two, five, or twenty-five years ago.
Maybe you know someone who lives with a sense of shame about who they are… constantly doubting their own value.
I suspect if you knew their stories, you would discover they had been wounded. The wounds led to the creation of scar tissue. The scar tissue isn’t flexible, and it makes it difficult for them to live, to trust, to love, to give, or to adjust to the ups and downs that are a part of life.
What would it take to break down your scar tissue?
What would it take to break down the scar tissue getting in the way of living your life to the fullest? What would it take to break down the scar tissue getting in the way of living well with God?
It seems to me there are three ways God works to break down the scar tissue in us.
Truth can break down the scar tissue. The truth that comes to us through the life and the teachings of the Carpenter named Jesus. In John 8:32, Jesus says that in his teachings there is a truth that will set us free. God can break down the scar tissue, the hard stuff that refuses to give and move, through the gift of God’s truth.
The second tool God uses is community—genuine, loving, supportive, and honest community. Talk to someone who has beaten an addiction and chances are they will tell you about their recovery group (where people tell the truth, by the way). Community is key. Relationships are key. That is what John and Charles Wesley understood and that is why our church is starting a network of small groups. Jesus comes to save the world, heal the world, and the first thing he does is call twelve ordinary people together to live in community. Paul, in Romans 3, talks about the church (God’s community) as “God’s temple.” Acts 2:42 says the early Jesus followers devoted themselves to community.
Finally, God breaks down scar tissue by using love. The small New Testament letter of 1st John talks about how we are brought to life through the love we experience in God (1 John 4:9).
I don’t know where your scar tissue is, but if something keeps causing you pain, making life difficult for you, I’d encourage you to be curious. Talk with someone you trust. Pray. Speak with a counselor or pastor.
Let God’s truth, God’s community, and God’s love do amazing things to break down that hard tissue, caused by earlier wounds, which gets in the way of your life today.
P.S. I can’t wait for my next appointment. I’m eager to continue breaking up the bad tissue so there is room for the good, flexible stuff to grow!
Join us this Sunday as we move into our Fall worship schedule:
MORNING CONNECTION – 8:45 in the Sanctuary
CLASSIC WORSHIP – 10 in the Sanctuary
THE OPEN DOOR – 11:15 in the Buskirk-Chumley
Give generously to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). You can place your gifts into the offering plate or go online to UMCOR.org to give to relief efforts in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean.
Our Church Council will meet on Monday, September 25th, at 6:30 pm in the Great Hall. Join us as we receive the report from our South Lot Property Task Force. What have we learned about possible uses for the old post office lot? What might be our next steps?
Appointments are available for the new church pictorial directory. To schedule your photo session, please go to this link: www.fumcb.org/directory. If you have questions, please contact Ann Arbuckle at 812.332.6396, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember to invite a friend to join you in worship at First Methodist this week. Also, be sure and sign up for a small group.
Grace and peace,