Lillyann and Mylah both got their first black eye within a week of one another. Both involved difficult lessons, as do all black eyes. Little Mylah was first and learned that a slick round metal surface does not provide the same grip as a solid wooden one. She grabbed the pole on her bouncy station and whirled around and down to the floor. She was shocked, I’m sure, to learn too late that she didn’t have the support she expected. Lessons learned the hard way stick with us, especially when accompanied by a black eye! She’s too little to notice her black eye or feel embarrassment, and her injury wasn’t as severe as her big sister’s. So I imagine she didn’t think much more about it except to learn not to use the bouncy bar for support in the future.
Lillyann’s accident was far worse and left a real shiner under her left eye. She put her legs through the legs of a kitchen stool and found that gravity can be a painful thing as the top of the stool hit her square in the eye. There is particular pain in that area, and it always leaves a mark when you’re whacked there! The mark remains as a reminder and serves to humble as folks just have to know how it happened. It hurts our pride to have to relive embarrassing moments over and over until all is faded and forgotten.
Fist fights normally leave such a mark, and it is seen by some as a purple badge of courage:) Lillyann certainly didn’t think that about her eye, and I got the impression that she was embarrassed by the whole affair and would rather not discuss it. I dropped the subject because I know just how she feels. I don’t recall ever literally having a black eye, but I’ve had more than my share of lessons that humble. You find out who your true friends are; they are the ones that wait for you to tell them the story and don’t ask if you don’t tell.
A black eye sets the stage for a good story and makes us the center of attention whether we want to be or not. When did you get it? How did it happen? What does the other guy look like? Those questions start a tall tale that embellishes the truth and ends differently depending upon who’s doing the narrating. Boys seemed to sport the injury more often than girls, but I don’t have any proof of that. However, Tom’s Guide for Gadgets does report this: “But did you know that boys playing with their Wii are more likely to be injured than girls? Patrick O’Toole, Robert Miller and John Flynn did a study as part of their work for the division of Orthopedics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that boys accounted for 49 out of the 92 motion-control-related injuries.”
Playing and living involve injury, and I suppose the more I’m willing to put myself into either, the more likely I am to get a black eye or a broken heart. God’s call for witnesses involves getting out into the world, getting a black eye, getting humbled, and getting right back out and doing it all over again. The same is true for love except you end up with a broken heart rather than a black eye. The trouble with a broken heart is that it can be easily hidden. I know the girls will have many spills as they learn what does and doesn’t work when it comes to holding on and climbing, and I know one day they will have the same spills and lessons when it comes to love. I hope they keep on grabbing and climbing and loving anyway.
The best stories, no matter who is telling them, come from those who get black eyes and broken hearts. If I never have either, then I’m not living or loving. When those injuries come from doing something silly, stories are replaced by prayers that no one saw it happen! Black eyes and broken hearts are part of life, and lessons that humble will continue as long as I reach out, grab on, and try to make a connection. It’s best to be like we are at Mylah’s age and learn quickly, forget as quickly, and then move on. The more I nurse my hurt, the more it hurts. Being able to laugh at my mistakes is icing on the cake and makes for a much better journey. I learned early in life to laugh along with everyone else when I make those goofy mistakes. That is far easier to do with a black eye than with a broken heart, but you have to be willing to learn and laugh from both. Black eyes and broken hearts heal, and lessons learned from them help me navigate the next leg of my journey. Laughter makes the sting of the humbling at little less painful, and the journey a lot more enjoyable. Having friends who cry and laugh with me along the way is just God showing off.