“Sounds like you’ve been through everything…” It’s not the first time a virtual stranger has given me that accolade. The poor man stepped on a land-mine with me when he unknowingly spurred on a random flashback. The two-minute explanation of my apparent street-smarts and physical oddities had the platoon sergeant shaking his head. At 33, he had his own share of unseen battles to fight. Being told by a man with his story that I’ve “been through everything” held a little too much weight.
He and I found camaraderie in the physical wounds we had in common. We knew immediately there was mutual support for the joys of flashbacks. We laughed together at the strange looks we got when we acknowledged our stories as completely different but “rather funny”. He said I’d been through everything. I’d been thinking the same thing for him.
As I headed home from that encounter, my pride began to swell. This guy’s praise was worthless in the eyes of eternity, but dang it, it felt good. There are days when you carry around unwanted memories (which we all have) that hearing a stranger’s instant respect just feels good.
I’ve been through everything, I smirked, cautiously acknowledging that Pride was becoming my identity. Everything. Dang, I’m good.
As I tried my hardest to spiritualize my pride, that still small voice spoke up. Everything, Beloved? Everything?
Instantly, the security blanket of my pride disappeared. No, I haven’t been through everything. I subconsciously touched the scar underneath my hairline, and the faces I knew from my days away from The Lord came to mind. It felt like everything, but it wasn’t.
It wasn’t death on a cross for a people that hated me.
It wasn’t anything like the scars and wounds Christ suffered for wretches such as myself.
My scars and my memories are there to make me like Christ, but they aren’t everything.