I was sitting here looking at these holes in my jeans, and a story came to mind.

There was once a boy who was given a new pair of breeches for school. Yeah, breeches. Because in my mind, this is not a modern story. Anyway, he was growing up in a pretty poor household, and his parents scrimped & saved to get him and his siblings some new school clothes. They handed out the clothes a couple weeks before school, and expressly directed the kids to hold onto their new clothes for school. This boy, being the youngest in his family, was pretty accustomed to getting nothing but hand-me-downs. He was SO proud of his new breeches! And then one day, it was just too much. When his mom wasn’t looking, he put on his new breeches and quickly went outside to play. At some point, however, he got pushed down by another boy as they were playing ball in the street. Now his jeans were gashed, and his pride in having new breeches was ripped to shreds. So, he snuck back home, hid his new breeches, and put on his old tatters in their stead.

A few days later, just before dinner, his mom came into the kitchen…holding his new, and newly destroyed jeans. Expecting her to be furious, he began making excuses and basically blubbering like you might expect a small boy to do. His mom, however, gave an unexpected response to his willful disregard. She showed little concern for the breeches. On the other hand, she asked him to roll up his old pants to show her his leg. Sure enough…he hadn’t just gashed the pants. He’d shredded his leg pretty good as well. His mom insisted on cleaning out the wound, which he was very opposed to doing. It was going to hurt SO much! But the wound was dirty and had become infected by that point. So of course, it needed to be cleaned out!

In my lifetime, I’ve had my share of shredded breeches. Literal, and more metaphorical. I’ve impulsively done things that I knew were not right, yet for whatever reason I still did them. I’ve had others push me down and hurt me, too. And afterward, just like the little boy in the story, I thought the best thing I could do would be to hide that hurt – from others, and even from myself. It’s only natural to do this. Truly, human nature. But it’s also natural for the pain to just get worse and cause further damage, if not exposed and cared for properly. This is as true for emotional wounds as physical ones.

I’m SO grateful for the times in my life when people I expected to be angry, upset, or even horrified by my “torn breeches” (or breaches) responded in unexpected ways – with kindness, love, and compassion. I once heard Dr. Curt Thompson call this “the beautiful surprise of grace”. I don’t know why, but the image of a monarch butterfly comes to mind every time I think of that phrase. And, I’m incredibly appreciative of people such as Dr. Thompson and countless others who have made it their life’s work to help people care for their emotional wounds.

(In case you’re wondering, I didn’t fall in the street this time…the holes in these jeans were from from a leaking motorcycle battery. I wear them anyway.)

7 thoughts on “breeches

    1. Endless Weekend

      I doubly like this comment, because I agree it’s a nurturing story and because of the wonderful adjective of “pleasant”: it’s such a warm and, well, pleasant adjective and I don’t feel we use it often enough. Well, maybe I don’t use it often enough?

      Just yesterday, a friend from whom I haven’t heard in a long time pinged me, and clearly he was upset. I tried to find out why and he said he was to ashamed to tell me because he had a romantic falling out with his (now) ex-girlfriend, and he remembered that the last time we talked was when he broke up with his previous ex-girlfriend and he’s ashamed to be pinging me when he’s upset over the same reason again. I’m glad to say I encouraged him to offload his troubles of his shoulders rather than, as David said, push him down and hurt him. Maybe that’s why your story resonated so much with me today. It’s a great story.

      I hope you weren’t wearing those jeans when the battery leaked? :O

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Stephanie Seven

        Thank you for sharing your story about your friend, we don’t want people to feel like they cannot offload their problems to us . I find it hard not to be tough and judgemental to my own son because I want him to be happy – but I am learning to listen.😊

        Liked by 2 people

      2. David Post author

        Well… I was wearing the jeans, and that’s how I came to realize the battery was leaking. It did no lasting damage (to me). Far less than being “pushed down” at times. Yes. Pleasant. Such a great and infrequently chosen adjective. Thank you both 😊

        Liked by 3 people

    1. David Post author

      It is not the typical, expected response, and certainly not the response I received my my caregivers. But a beautiful one!

      Thanks for contributing.

      Liked by 2 people


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