Monday, January 15, 2007

Broken dolls, broken dreams

An essay by a fellow blogger (see her post called "Rubber Cement") made me think of a scene in the film "The Homecoming" (TV's "The Waltons" was based on the film, or the same book as the film). The kids go out to find a missionary in town who they hear is giving away toys to kids; the catch is they have to recite a Bible verse. Mary Ellen quickly feeds the younger kids verses, including one for Elizabeth, the youngest; it was either "Jesus wept" (John 11:35) or something inappropriate from the Song of Solomon or somewhere, I can't recall (feel free to correct me on the details here).

The other kids gather around as Elizabeth eagerly rips open her package to find a broken doll. Horrified, she screams "It's dead!" and sobs into her brother's comforting arms, and throws the doll down heartbroken.

Being the youngest, and having lived part of my life on a farm of sorts, I could relate to Elizabeth (despite the gender difference). As a grownup (more or less) I had--or almost had--a relationship that reminded me of this scene when it went bad fresh out of the wrapper (so to speak). These days, having lived with myself as long as I have--plenty long enough to be very familiar with my own shortcomings--I wonder which is worse: to receive the broken doll...or to BE the doll. Which we all are, in one way or another, at some point (Romans 3:23).

As my virtual acqaintance (also named Elizabeth, coincidentally) observed on her blog, sometimes things are broken beyond repair...dolls....dishes...relationships. Sometimes even after the attempt to fix it, the thing still has the cracks and chinks that remind you of the damage. I believe sometimes the best way to love someone is from a distance (with the aid of a restraining order, if necessary). Physical abuse is one of those situations. But it seems that our disposable plastic society has trained us to lean toward "out with old, in with the new" more often than "make do," with very little reason other than boredom or minor irritation with the person or object in question. "Irreconcilable differences" is often a crock. A very wise man once told me that ultimately the only valid criteria for a healthy relationship is a surrendered attitude; surrendered to God, surrendered to the other person.

So here's hoping for a healthy dose of unconditional surrender from--and for--all my "Elizabeths" this year.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Grattan said...



I completely agree...we are less like to attempt repair and simply move on to what else is working...

forgetting that sometimes, all those dents and dinks have added character that something shiny and new just can't match.

nice blog!