Ten years ago today, I ruptured my Achilles tendon during a taekwondo graduation.
It was a sparring match. A chance to show off my taekwondo moves. I was paired against a 16-year old. I was a 41-year old feeling 21 again.
Until I went to jump for a front kick.
And my Achilles tendon snapped.
At first I didn’t know what happened. It felt like someone crashed into the back of my leg. But when I turned around, no one was there. It was at that moment that my body pinpointed the searing pain in my Achilles’ heel.
I collapsed to the ground…clutching my leg…rocking side to side…grimacing in pain.
My 16-year old opponent stood there…shocked that he took me down without even throwing a kick.
A few days later I was in surgery…the day before Thanksgiving.
I ate my turkey that year in a mental fog…recovering from anesthesia…leg propped up on a chair…trying to figure out what the next six months would entail…feeling like a turkey.
Casts. Crutches. Walking boots. Physical therapy. Learning to walk again.
It would be a year before I would run again…and even attempt to jump.
I don’t have the hard data but my speed, agility, and vertical leap all took a major hit. I went from a 41-year old feeling like a 21-year old to a 42-year old feeling every bit like a middle-aged man.
So here I am ten years later…in my 50’s.
For the most part, I do not even notice the repaired Achilles tendon. At times, it feels a little tighter…a little thicker than my other heel. But overall it seems to have the same flexibility as my other foot.
I am jogging again. Every once in awhile, I play basketball or football. My speed is gone. My jumping ability is pathetic. But I attribute that more to age than to my Achilles.
The biggest evidence of the injury…and the surgery…is the scar.
When I wear hard shoes…or loose ones…the scar is what bothers me the most.
The scar is what reminds me of November 21, 2009.
We all carry scars…some on the surface of our outer body…some deeper in our inward heart.
Scars remind us of times of pain…wounds…injuries…even attacks, rejections, and betrayals.
We try to repair them…heal them…forget about them…but the scars remain.
They mark places in our lives that are tougher…more disfigured…more sensitive…more susceptible to further hurt.
I wish we didn’t have scars.
It would mean that we lived in a world without injury…without suffering…without sorrow…without pain.
No more heart attacks. No more heart aches. No more cancers. No more death.
Isn’t it ironic that the One who promises to remove these things and to make our world new…is the very One who will spend eternity with scars?
On His hands and on His feet.
And in His side.
To remind us.
That it took His pain to take away our pain.
It took His death to take away our death.
And it took His life to give us new life.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:4-5a)