My wife, Kim, and I have moved many times in the twenty-one years we’ve been married. From one city to another city, from one state to another state, even across the country. We’ve even lugged the same boxes, unopened and still taped up, from one place to another only to be stored away “for another day and another time”. Drives Kim crazy and I have to admit, I’m getting there too. Although in my case, I don’t have far to go to be officially ‘crazy’, some might say.
Kim and I have a favorite photograph of the two of us. It was taken in Baja, Mexico on the steps of a building where the bus would drop us off and then pick us up after our shopping and site-seeing. We were younger then. We were engaged, not married. I even had hair then, all brown. Kim, well, she looked then as she looks now. Not much changed.
It’s our favorite photograph. It sits in a frame in my office and as I write this, I peek over and look at it, causing me to smile. I notice that it is creased. I notice that it has a mark, a blemish. It no longer looks as it once did. Perhaps in one of the moves. Packed, not quite as securely, as safely as it should have been. While it still evokes fond memories, it isn’t quite as pleasing to look at as it once was.
Tattered And Torn.
And the thing about the photo, it will never really be the same. We can try to fix the tear. We can try to mend the crease. But the photo will never be quite the same. The photo, changed. Damaged. No, never quite the same.
Sometimes, this happens to kids . . . to us. We can become Tattered And Torn.
Remember the first day of school? Not talking about the first day of school as a tenth grader, or as a junior in high school, or as a fourth grader. I’m talking about the first-first day of school, the first day ever!
Kids are so excited. New backpacks. A new pair of shoes. Maybe a new outfit, slacks or a sweater or a jacket. A new lunch box. The brand new, unused Crayons with the really, really sharp points. The Number 2 Pencils that had yet to be sharpened. Kids so excited that they can’t necessarily sleep the night before. So very excited.
And as time goes on, the newness wears off. No more excitement. Just another, well, school year.
Sad when kids become Tattered And Torn.
An unkind word from a kid in the hallway. A kid eating lunch by himself. Even three kids sitting at the same table, yet eating lunch by themselves. An unkind word from a teacher, perhaps an unknowing word. Perhaps a sarcastic comment meant to be funny, yet for one reason or another, hurts, stings, especially if other kids laugh, not so much at the comment but at the kid it was directed to.
Kids become Tattered And Torn. Happened, and happens, to me more than once. More than once in a while.
And like the photograph that sits in my office, that kid is never quite the same. There are creases. There are blemishes. Holes. Edges ripped off. There are tears.
(Interesting how the same spelling of Tear has two separate, different meanings).
Happens to us too, no matter how old we are. Some gossip heard and spread here or there. Perhaps partial truths, even lies, told about us behind backs or worse, in front of us. Excluded and uninvited. A mistake made and then held against us for a time . . . forever. Never given a chance again. Never allowed to make up for it.
Perhaps if we think first, judge . . . never? Ever? Perhaps if we accept, if we give, if we care, if we love, maybe then there will be no more Tatters And Tears. We won’t have to worry about kids . . . about us . . . ever being Tattered And Torn. Ever. Something to think about . . .