Earlier this week, as I was leaving a local medical facility and walking to my vehicle, something colorful caught my eye.
I looked down at the asphalt blanketing the nearly empty parking lot. There, next to my tire, were three crayons lying on the ground.
I cannot recall what colors they were, but I seem to remember a red, yellow and possibly blue, or was it green? I wish I had thought to take a picture, but that did not occur to me until after I had driven away.
As I drove away from the parking lot, I could not help but wonder about the story behind those broken crayons I stumbled upon.
I imagined a young child, sitting in the backseat, coloring a picture, which was interrupted when his or her mother said it was time to get out of the car and go inside.
Mom opened the car door, and in the midst of obtaining the small arsenal of kid-bags required for any public place, the crayons somehow fell out of the child’s hand, onto the floorboard, and continued their descent onto the cold, hard, black asphalt of the parking lot, never to be thought of again.
Until I stumbled upon them on this particular day…
It has been said that “Broken crayons still color.”
This was the thought that occurred to me as I was trying to come up with a life lesson for this random discovery.
While those three crayons were used, broken, and no longer the perfect, pointed, fully in-tact color sticks they once were, they were still very capable of creating a unique work of art, and most likely had done just that, by the small hands that held them at one time.
My sons, now 11 and 9 years of age, rarely color these days.
However, as a hoarding-of-all-my-children’s-possessions-mother, I still have boxes and containers full of broken crayons, half-used, with teeth marks, and the paper torn off, sitting in my craft drawer, begging to be picked up and given artful purpose once again.
When I think back to the years my son’s used crayons, I recall those colorful little wax sticks, held in the tiny fingers of my little boys.
The precious pieces of creative expression they excitedly showed to me, with every expectation that their works of art would find a new home on our kitchen refrigerator. Or, as in the case of exceptionally epic pieces, framed and hung on the wall of our living room.
Despite the fact that once a crayon is used for the first time, it is no longer perfect, it is still very much capable of telling a story, drawing a picture, painting a portrait directly from the imagination of a child onto the blank page he wishes to present to his mommy, daddy, teacher, friend, or older sibling.
Aren’t we all a bit like crayons? Born with a purpose, a unique story to share with our small part of the world. Life experiences crippling us in some ways, spurring us toward success in others.
We are all a little broken, and on varying levels of life’s healing path.
Broken crayons still color. They still tell a unique story, when placed in the hands of the Great Artist. They can still present a colorful image of life that could possibly be the saving grace of another, going through a similar experience.
The next time you think you are too broken to color, please consider the fact that your brokenness does not affect the picture you present to the world.
In fact, it may very well enhance the journey you have traveled and inspire others toward hope, healing, and sharing their own beautiful story.
I do not know how those three crayons ended up in the parking lot. I wish I had a back-story to share. I like to think those crayons were beloved by a precious child and used to paint several treasured pieces of artwork, now proudly displayed on the walls of a loving family home.
Broken crayons may not hold the same appeal as a fresh box of perfectly pointed, color-coded, wax painting sticks begging to be used.
However, those perfect crayons have no story to tell. It is the broken, used, and sometimes abused, chewed, partially eaten, and fully exposed crayons that have the most beautiful stories to tell.
Do not let your broken past inhibit you from sharing your story with others. After all, the greatest works of art required a large amount of supply to reach their destined completion.
And in the hands of a loving artist, even a broken crayon, can convey a breathtaking, and life-altering, piece of art.