Scratched, Battered, and Beaten

by Lisa on September 3, 2011

Walking away from the Vittoriano, and into the nearby piazza, we came to the street vendors. There were selling all sorts of goodies and treasures—cold drinks, colored tee shirts with different versions of “Italy” sprayed across the the chest, postcards, Vatican trinkets, plastic gladiator armor made in china, jewelry, cheap clothing, and tasty snacks. If you could name it, you could probably find it.

Pulled by an invisible string, Ale and I went straight for the sunglasses. The bright sunshine, and lack of eyewear, made them easy targets. We tried on big ones, little ones, black ones, white ones, “designer” ones, and regular ones. I settled on a 8€, tortoise shell, brown pair of Christian Dior knock-offs. They even had little rhinestones on the side logo. I wore them the rest of the trip, and, in between wears, I carefully tucked them into a soft, microfiber, orange pouch.

Back home, the kids wanted to try them on. They thought they were pretty cool—especially the rhinestones—and, after a few arguments about who got to try them on first, and several youngster modeling poses, one of the kids got a scratch on them. After that, my previous care routine steadily lessened and lessened. I stopped putting them in the pouch after every wear, and just started throwing them in my purse, or tossing them on the counter, or leaving them on the dashboard. They have become quite scratched, battered, and beat up.

 Last week David and I drove to Portland. He had a meeting, and I had arranged to join him for our first night sans kids in over five years. We got in Poor Old White (our trusty Volkswagen Eurovan) and headed north. Thirty minutes into the ride I pulled out the trusty faux Dior shades. I put them on, and all I could see was smears, and scratches, and areas of faded color. I took them off, rubbed away the gunk, and put them back on. The scratches were still there, but I could see through them. I realized that after a while I didn’t even notice the marks anymore. I mentioned it to David.

“Isn’t it weird how after a little bit of time I don’t even notice, or recognize, the scratches on my sunglasses?” He laughed, and casually remarked, “Isn’t that a bit like life?”

I’ve been ruminating on that thought over this last week.

Our week was filled with life’s normal drama—crying kids, piles of laundry, dirty dishes, trying to get my act together, etc. It was also filled with new friendships, wonderful fellowship, and encouragement. The week ended with an extra-ugly family drama including angry words, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and a bad attempt to reconcile. After each day, and/or unique episode, I keep coming back to: Isn’t that a bit like life? Followed by, is this (particular circumstance) more like life, or more like Life?

Can a pair of scratched sunglasses and a casual comment really become a growth lesson? I think it can. Part of my week was filled with just life, and part of my week was filled with Life.

I know I do not want just life. Instead I want Life—Jesus’ life, His Life living in, and through, me.  I want to see my world more through Life’s eyes. I hope to see my scratches and blemishes, take responsibility for them, but also look out into the Sunshine beyond them. I need to be aware that I tend see life through a glass darkly, but in order to experience Life I must be humble and filled with Love.

My prayer for this upcoming week: Lord, help me see things through Life’s eyes. Help me to recognize, and repent of, my shortcomings. Help me to focus, and lean, on you—not to see things through scratched, battered and beaten up sunglasses, but instead experience Life in the fullest. Amen.

Leave a Comment