Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Parable of the Man with a Broken Arm

There once was a man who broke his arm.

What did he do about it? Well the first action step that crossed his mind was maybe he ought to go to the doctor and get it fixed. But he soon thought better of that because getting his arm fixed would most likely require that he wear a cast. And with casts come stigma. When you wear a cast, that’s the first thing everybody sees. They can’t look past the cast and see the person wearing it. Casts make people who don’t have broken arms feel uncomfortable. Casts remind them that their arms are breakable, too. Casts are a symbol of weakness and vulnerability. Casts send the message that we are broken, we are lesser than we once were. Case in point: Two men apply for a job. The men are identically qualified. But one man has a cast on his arm and the other doesn’t. Which man do you think will get the job? The one without the cast, of course.

The man with a broken arm knew the devastating power of stigma, so he thought it prudent to avoid all contact with stigma at all cost. So he decided the best course of action was to pretend as if he didn’t have a broken arm. In other words, he vowed to overcome his broken arm. He would rise above it!

And so he carried on with business as usual. Of course, it soon became obvious to everyone around him that he had a broken arm. But the courageous way he dealt with it made him an object of admiration among those who don’t have broken arms. He may have had a protruding bone, but did he ever complain about it? Not one iota! He never once asked for special treatment or a free pass. He didn’t go around playing the broken arm card. He didn’t shove his broken arm in everyone’s face. He was the kind of man who didn’t let having a broken arm define him. His broken arm didn’t seem to matter to him. So why should it matter to anyone else?
So the man with a broken arm pressed on. Nothing could temper his spirit and determination. Not even gangrene. But, sadly, the man with a broken arm eventually died. The cause of death was complications from a broken arm. But at least he died with dignity.

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