When I was in preschool, I obsessed over The Little Mermaid. I wanted everything to resemble Ariel–my clothes, my hair, my swimsuits, and yes–even my bandaids. One time when I was grocery shopping with my mom, I grabbed a big box of Little Mermaid Bandaids and slipped them into my pocket–not realizing, of course, that was a crime. I just wanted a bandaid, right? On the drive home, I got them out of the box and started sticking them all over my body–toes, knees, shins, arms, even my forehead. I got caught, of course, not really understanding that stealing is kind of a big deal, and my mom forced me to go back to the store and apologize to the manager. All I remember is that I cried and begged my mom to let me keep the bandaids. I rationalized with her that the store wouldn’t notice that one of their bandaid boxes was gone, that apologizing would surely be the most humiliating experience of my life, and if she really loved me she would just let me keep my beloved bandaids. But you know how this story ends, right?
Rachel Held Evans, a blogger/author/speaker, wrote an entry today that got my mind turning. Her bottom line was you cannot find answers without living through the agonizing questions; no one reaches a real answer without first walking through the blindness of the process. And those that find answers before then, don’t really find answers at all–only bandaids for a heart-attack.
I will confess to you that I still prefer bandaids, most days. Band-aids are easier to find, reliable, and simple. They are safe and easy. No one questions band-aids because, well, they’re band-aids. They’re tried and true, always there when you need them. But there’s something unfortunate about that little band-aid. It doesn’t cover up the massive wounds.
As I continue to walk this journey I find that bandaids hardly ever work, and yet for some reason we all continue to go back to them. Heartache? Give me a bandaid. Doubt? Give me a bandaid. Suffering? Give me a bandaid. Love so vulnerable it makes me scared? Give me a bandaid. Humiliation and embarrassment? Oh please, just give me a stinking bandaid.
I’m sick of bandaids. I’m tired of watching people never swallow their pride and ruin relationships as a result. I hate pretending that if you close your eyes and count to three, anger, doubt, and pain will all just fade into the background. Because it doesn’t. It’s muted, perhaps, but it doesn’t go away. The only thing that ever really sparks change is living through it–every bit of it, knowing it’s going to hurt and it may, in fact, be humiliating. Accepting (and embracing) that while you may heal, you will never look the same. And you may even have to return your bandaids.