Crumpled and Dirty

Crumpled and Dirty

For some time, we’ve been putting on benefit shows in our beautiful city of Granada, Spain. On a particular occasion, we performed at a residence for senior citizens. After the usual dances, songs, and puppet show, I decided to end with an illustration about value. This is how it went:

“Supposing that I offered to give this away,” I asked the audience, showing them a €20 banknote, “who would want it?”

Everyone raised their hand.

“And if I did this?” I crumpled the bill and repeated the question. Everyone’s hands stayed up.

Then I threw the bill on the ground and stepped on it. I picked it up and asked, “And now?”

A few fussy souls abstained, but the majority continued to raise their hands.

“Let’s remember that we are like this bill. Sometimes life will rough us up and get us dirty, but in God’s eyes, we never lose our value as individuals.” I was moved by the applause, but the best was yet to come.

At the end of the show, as we were packing up the equipment, a woman approached me and asked if we could talk in private. We moved to an adjoining room and with tears in her eyes she tightly squeezed my hands, thanking me over and over, and saying, “My children brought me here and forgot about me. Now they never visit. But today you came and reminded me of something very important—I am this euro bill.”

This reminded me of a Bible passage: “Even if my sons and daughters abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.”1

If in the course of life, we stumble and fall, or things work out in a way that we end up feeling like that battered €20 banknote, let’s not forget the moral of the story: No matter how crumpled or dirty we are, in God’s eyes we still hold inestimable value.

* * *

Treat a man as he appears to be, and you make him worse. But treat a man as if he already were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be.Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832)

Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference.—Barbara De Angelis (b. 1951)

Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.—Mark Twain (1835–1910)

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.—Aesop (c. 620–564 BC)

1.  Psalm 27:10, adapted

Lucas Hernández

Lucas Hernández lives in Granada, Spain, and has volunteered with various NGOs for over 40 years. 

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