Stop This World

Gracefully going from victim to survivor to servant leader in the heartland

What kid doesn’t love crayons?  When I was in Kindergarten in the early 80’s, part of our school supply list was to of course bring crayons.  An 8-pack to be specific.  There is something special about brand new crayons.  They are sharp and the paper is perfect on them.  There’s also that crayon smell that takes me back to childhood.

I went to Kindergarten prepared with my backpack full of school supplies, including my crayons.  Imagine my surprise when one of my classmates showed up with a 64-pack of crayons.  It even had a sharpener in the back!  I had never seen such a thing.  I only thought there were 8 colors of crayons, but now there are 64 crayons with cool names like Carnation Pink, Burnt Orange and Periwinkle.  Holy cow! 

Of course our classmate ended up being very popular during coloring time when she had so many choices of crayons.  She was a very nice classmate and shared her crayons and I learned over time that my favorite color of crayon is Brick Red.  I always looked for the Brick Red color in larger Crayola boxes or in the box of broken crayons.  I loved that color as a six-year old and I love that color now.  Brick red (maroon) continues to be my favorite color.  Kind of funny that the colors for my college were maroon & gold (go Gophers!) and the colors for my school before we consolidated were maroon & white (go Colts!).

Crayons only stay new for a short amount of time.  With the amount of coloring one did in Kindergarten back in the 80’s, your crayons got pretty tattered quickly.  Peeling the paper off the crayon slowly as the crayon became smaller and smaller…duller and duller.  Pretty soon your teacher had a box of random crayons of all sizes and colors that nobody used anymore.  In Sunday School I think that all we ever had was a box of used crayons to color the likes of Noah, Jonah and Jesus.  Guess what?  It didn’t matter to us that the crayons weren’t perfect because they colored anyway.  The broken crayons made just as beautiful of a rainbow over Noah’s Ark as the brand-new, out-of-the-box crayons.  You don’t look at a child’s drawing and say that you should have used newer crayons because you can’t tell the difference.

Broken crayons still color.

I actually discovered this mantra about crayons a few years ago when I was preparing for a speaking engagement.  I read it over and over in my head thinking, “well that’s cute”, and thinking nothing of it.  Then, after a little bit it really hit me square in the chest.  I’m broken and I can still “color” in life.  Nobody needs to know that I’m coloring life with broken crayons (depression, sexual assault, anxiety, PTSD) because our colored pictures all look wonderful.  I may have been through hell and back, but I could still live a beautiful, colorful life.

I used this mantra at that speaking engagement and I didn’t think too much about it until I heard from several women afterwards that this mantra really spoke to them.  The words are simple, but they are true.  You may be broken, but you can still have a beautiful life.  You can still color all the colors in the rainbow.

Imagine my surprise when I was shopping with my mom in a cute boutique and this painted window appeared:

I decided that I had to have it.  I have absolutely no clue where I’m going to hang it, but it will be prominent in my home in the future.  The fact that I found this painted window is crazy because I have never seen anything like it before.  This is something that my grandma calls a ‘God-wink’.  It’s like God is winking at you and letting you know that everything is okay.  I looked at the window and knew it was meant for me. 

I hope that you will go on in life using all the colors in the rainbow and in the Crayola box of 64.  It doesn’t matter if the crayons, or you, are broken.  Remember, broken crayons still color.  Happy coloring.

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