Yesterday, I got my son out of his car seat and attempted to set him down so he could walk to the front door while I gathered his things. But as I knelt to place his sneakered feet on the ground, he held tighter.
Admittedly, I was a bit frustrated. I needed to get going, and he was stuck to me like velcro. I forced him to let go at the same exact moment I realized his tiny fist was clutching my necklace. My pearl necklace, no less. And ya’ll know I love pearls.
As I ripped my body from his, his grip on the necklace caused it to break, sending pearls of all sizes all over the driveway. As the white beads hit the cement around me, I found myself very angry.
I’m not proud to say I immediately exclaimed, “Look what you’ve done!”
My emotional little boy—the boy who cries when a dog whines—grew upset. I could see his eyes start to swell, and his little lip pouted. He looked at the pearls around his feet and sat down in the grass. Then, he carefully maneuvered his chubby little toddler hand through the green blades and picked up one of the beads. He stretched his hand out to me, his eyes heavy.
And in that moment, I regretted getting mad at him. He didn’t mean to break my necklace. And besides, the pearls weren’t even real. We’re talking about a Wal-Mart special, folks.
As I started picking up the pearls—in my pencil skirt and panty hose (yes, you read that right, but no, it’s not my wardrobe of choice)—I realized we do this all the time. Just like my son didn’t want to let me go in that moment, we all hold onto things we don’t want to lose. We clutch them until they can’t take the pressure anymore, and we break them.
We do this to our spouses. I can’t be the only one who expects so much of my husband that I cling to him tightly enough to risk the pressure cracking our foundation.
We do this to our jobs. We need our job, or we love what we do, and so we push ourselves to the limits. We work and work and work until we can’t anymore.
We do this to our kids. We want straight As, clean rooms, and full tummies. And while realistic expectations are healthy, there comes a point when we can clutch onto them so tightly, they break.
Still, no matter the situation, we pick up those pieces, and we try to put them back together for the person we hurt. Just like my son crawled around in the grass and handed me the dropped pearls.
But the thing is—we often can’t put it all back together on our own. We can try, and sometimes we can create a temporary fix, but when we experience a break of any kind, the truth is… we need help. And I know I’m talking about a cheap pearl necklace that would probably cost more to fix than to just buy a new one. But, the lesson remains.
Know where your help comes from. It could be spiritual, emotional, through friendship, or counseling. For me, it’s religious. If you’re trying to pick up the pearls after a long day—if you’re tired, stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, scared, defeated… remember Jeremiah 17:14:
“Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.”
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