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I have a lot of scars and I've been adding to them recently. I have the requisite scar on my knee from when I fell off my bike in 7th grade. In fact, I have quite a few scars from biking– my elbows, wrist, legs. I have some scars from surgeries– most notably a huge scar across my belly from my twisted intestines surgery that I had before I was two years old (I could projectile vomit across the room!). I have some scars from spending my youth growing up at a dance studio– on the bottom of my chin; on my wrist, where glass entered in and nearly cut my tendon that operates my thumb. I have a few scars from cutting myself when I've been cooking at home. The most recent scar I have is on the back of my hand when I opened the oven door in the restaurant that I'm working at right now. The lesson: In restaurant kitchens, even the outside of oven doors get hot.

Most of my scars have taught me something. The biking ones have taught me to always wear a helmet; or not to go over a rock that large; or no matter how confident I get, I should not do whatever I did. Don't slide your hand down a glass mirror. Making sure the towel is completely dry when I grab something hot out of the oven.

The scars also tell stories. I can look at my arm where a scar is still barely visible and think back to when Michael, Steve and I were running around outside at the Kirk and a gate swung closed and cut my arm. I remember the great friendships that I had growing up and how I need to call those dudes. The scars on my wrist are from when I launched myself off the side of a mountain while biking on my sister's husband's bachelor party. I remember the whole weekend every time I look at my wrist and how my sister is now married to such a great guy.

But some scars aren't physical. Sometimes scars result from periods of our life. Unemployment can be a huge scar. Miscarriage would be another huge scar. A broken relationship; an F on a report card; a fight with a roommate; a difficult conversation with parents/friends/loved ones/siblings/the barista; the death of someone close; these are all scars.

Just like physical scars, these scars teach us lessons and tell our stories. However, it seems to me that God forms us most in our scars. We cry out for that relationship to be restored, for that job to come, for understanding at the loss of life, for wisdom on how to speak truth in love. Prayer seems to be heightened during these times. We learn more about ourselves, about others and most importantly about God. These scars form who God is making us to be. Scars are the evidence of growth and healing in our lives.

The scars are what Jesus shows to his disciples after the resurrection:

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

...and [he]said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (Luke 24:36-39, 46, 47)

The scars of the crucifixion did not disappear after resurrection. They confirmed that Jesus died and rose again. They confirmed that Jesus bore for us the punishment of sin for our sake. Jesus' scars prove that our scars too will heal.

A. Bird

[For those who are wondering, this is not turning into a music blog. This post is as much of a thanks to Stephanie and Micall as it is an appreciation for Andrew Bird and his great musical talent.]

After Thursday night's awesome Bon Iver show, I didn't think my weekend would get too much more musical. But I was wrong.

At approximately 5 pm on Friday, I got an email from Stephanie, stating that she got some information from a friend of hers that Andrew Bird was playing a secret show at Ronny's in Logan Square. She couldn't verify the info, but her source seemed credible.

If any of you know me, I mean really know me, then you would know that many months ago, when I thought I would have to be leaving Chicago due to the lack of a job, my target date to leave this great city was the 4th of September. A Thursday. Who leaves on a Thursday? Well, it wasn't a randomly selected Thursday, but rather it was the Thursday after Andrew Bird played a free concert at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millenium Park. One of the more anticipated concerts that I had waited to see. It was the first and only time I had seen him.

However, this particular Friday Micall and I had planned to have our Christmas, go see the Lincoln Park Zoo Lights and have some time together. Alas, I would not see this show.

But upon mentioning this to Micall, she exclaimed, "Well, let's go! We can see the Zoo lights anytime."


Ronny's is a dive. A serious dive. One that sells PBR for $3 in cans (MSRP: $0.50). But as we waited through the sound check and starred through the glass door. Andrew Bird was sound checking his violin and whistle (his mouth). He played about an hour, mostly new stuff, and an old song that I hadn't heard before. It was great. And I was this close to him... Yeah that close. At one point, he couldn't find his shoulder pad thingy for his violin and I pointed it out to him. He head-nodded in gratitude. Yeah, I got a head-nod.

He has a new album coming out in January. Keep an eye out for it. And he's touring the US. He'll be in a city near you soon enough. Even Tulsa.

Photo Friday :: Bon Iver Edition

I made sure I remembered my camera this time. I was purposeful in doing so.

And what do I hear as I'm waiting outside to sell my extra ticket? "No Cameras." Dang it. And while I felt comfortable sneaking in a burrito, if my camera got confiscated, I would not have been happy.

On another note. People: if you're going to a concert and taking photos, please don't use your flash. Especially if you're in the balcony. It won't reach that far. It'll distract from the lighting that trained and paid professionals have set up already. Turn your ISO up on your camera and convert to black and white.

The music was great though and I bought my first vinyl. I feel this beginning to be a long downward spiral. But a warm sounding one.

Reflections on Advent

Last night at Berwyn, the Women's Guild put on a Christmas Musicale; a Lessons and Carols service. Scripture and reflective readings were read. I was told I had 10 minutes for a sermon. That's normally a warm up for me-- or at least, I'd like it to be. This one came in at 11:45.

And the volume goes up to 11 also.