Adapted from Dented and Damaged by Carol Davis (note: some text deleted to shorten this blog and to fit counseling and therapy).
“I walked down the aisle of the discount grocery looking for a bargain. It’s always hit and miss in this store … and I had missed … again.
Before giving up and accepting defeat, I passed by a bin that caught my eye. The sign read: “Damaged Goods.” It was filled with dented cans and missing labels … no real rhyme or reason, just random items that were not shelf worthy. I knew just how that felt.
Life sometimes delivers the unexpected. Lessons learned in the school of hard knocks bruise us, dent us and remove the label that we believe defines who we are. A miscarriage strips away the title of mother. A divorce takes away the role of wife. A pink slip eliminates our role of employee.
We can feel as if we have been tossed into a bin, no longer worthy of a place on the shelf. With enough dents and damage, we can believe the lie that we are first-class failures and all hope is gone.
Shaking myself from my theological musings, I leaned over and intentionally chose a dented can with no label from the bin. I got it home and placed it on the counter with anxious anticipation. The whir of the can opener finally penetrated the metal lid to reveal … peaches!!! I let out a schoolgirl squeal! I love peaches!! What a treat to open this can and be greeted by one of my favorite fruits. The can was damaged but the contents were still good … and sweet.
………..I have been damaged. We all have to some degree. I am not living the life that I dreamed about when I was a kid. However, the damage that I have suffered has made the contents of my heart so much sweeter, so much more compassionate, so much more in pursuit of Jesus. I have been looked down upon and judged by many who have seen my labels missing and slapped on their own.
I’ve wanted to say, “Don’t judge too quickly. My damage has not defined me. It is refining me.”
Zanda’s note: People seek counseling when they think they are “damaged goods” or are living or working with people who they think are damaged. Just as the author found the sweet surprise of peaches in a damaged and unlabeled can, so too may you discover a surprise for your own life when you start taking care of yourself through therapy.