Tuesday, January 25, 2022

A Message in a Statue

The statue fell over with a crash. She’d already lost her hand, but now her arm completely shattered from her body. I crumpled, kneeling on the ground, and my first thought was, “Piss on me.” 

Yes. Can you believe it? Piss. On. Me.

The statue has been on my writing desk. She normally stands so elegant and beautiful. And somehow I’d come to think of her as a perfect little guardian, but now she’s disfigured…like me. 

My parents gave me that statue when I got my dream job—managing a newspaper in Southeastern Idaho. That job was incredible, interviewing senators and a governor, chasing fires, and writing bittersweet stories that could even ease the pain of loss. But the newspaper is no longer in business, I got cancer…and a doctor did actually call me “disfigured.”

I know it might sound stupid, or even overindulgent, but some days it’s hard to be 38 and think that I can’t run, skip, or hike—or sleep long at night because of painful tumors—or walk normally. (And I don’t want to think about how other people have it worse—because THAT is even more depressing. 🥺 I’ve never understood how thinking about other people’s suffering should make me feel better.) 

Anyway, my parents had been so proud when I ran the newspaper, but who would be proud of me now? I’m…a cripple.

I wiped my tears—it’s okay to cry sometimes, but I better not make it a habit! It wasn’t until I picked up the statue that I realized something! Someone had stuffed paper in the bottom of it.

I pulled out the first note: 
“Elisa, I have always been so proud of you...” The note from my mother began. I set it down, almost shaking and read the next note, from little Indy.


“I hope that my mom will sleep well and get better and that I’ll sleep well too. I love you, God.”

The air around felt so heavy. My poor little girl, being so courageous. I rolled the papers and placed the notes back into the statue on my desk. 

I decided then, she will remain—without her left arm. 

It reminds me of the word “sincere.” Someone so dear to me once said the root of sincere means “without wax.” People used to repair broken statues by placing wax in the cracks and then painting over them. The amazing thing is that over time, the statues that are worth the most are the ones that no one fixed. They are who they are—flaws and all. And you know what, embracing that is a beautiful thing. 

If my little girl can find hope and courage by leaning on God, then I can do the same—just the way I am.


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