She had been ‘defiant’ once again and knew her time in the darkness of the crawl space under the yellow box was near. She quickly grabbed the rusty ole canister off her closet shelf, kneeled down and pried open the steel latch. She threw the Bake-Rite can into the darkness and heard the mamba sound of its contents as it fell to the earth below.
She was feeling increasingly tired of his advances and wanted something to keep her company while being punished. She was seven.
Herein lies her first lesson of VALUE.
Her grandmother was an expert in sewing and couldn’t bear to throw anything away. This was her tin canister and its contents were now the little girl’s only companion. These precious pieces of metal, and plastic came in all sizes, textures, shapes and colors. Some were shiny and felt smooth to the touch, some were roughed up, their color faded, and broken.
The earthen dirt felt cool against her skin; a damp and musty, pungent smell filled the air.
Every crease of her tiny hands and nails filled with dirt and splinters from pushing on the heavy, wooden frame that kept her confined beneath the box which- often was referred to as home. She pried open the ole rusty canister and began to push her hand to the bottom scooping up as many buttons as she could. It was often too dark to make out the color of each button so she would envision, soft pink like her shawl that her Grandma had knitted for her, charcoal gray like Grandpa’s work shirts, beautiful barn red much like the door on the house around the corner, and bottom of the ocean black which matched his soul. She would scoop up as many as she could in her little hand;
one-two- three- and so on- hoping with each scoop she would have at least one more than before. Life carried on like this for awhile until…
A few years later, her mother opened up her closet door, grabbed what clothes were there and folded them neatly into an old brown suitcase. With a look of urgency on her tired and battered face, she said “You and your brother are going to visit Grandma and Grandpa. I will be coming in a few weeks.”
The next morning, he was nowhere to be seen. With an uneasy feeling in the air and afraid he would return, she waited anxiously for them to drive away in the little green Vega.
Over the years, a few have asked her why she saves this old rusty can with its seemingly useless buttons.
“In my darkest hours, those buttons saved my life.”
There isn’t much difference between a can of buttons and people really. Some appear polished and new but feel worthless, many have jagged edges and have inflicted many scars yet they too have a story.
And some are broken- their color faded yet they realize that their worth is not diminished by outwardly appearances.
She found value in a can full of buttons and in turn has chosen to see, feel and live her life helping others discover theirs.