I’ve lent a lot of things to people over the years. Pencils to boys who never seemed to have any school supplies, sweatshirts to cold people, plates that were sent to someone with cookies or cake on it, books that I thought needed to be shared, money when there was a need, my phone when someone else’s died…
You get the picture. There’s something in just about every category that I’ve lent to people. I’ve borrowed things from other people too. In fact, I have a few things sitting on my floor that need to find their way back to their owners before I leave.
Sometimes you lend things to people with knowledge that you will most likely never see it again. This is how I felt every time I handed a boy a pencil in class. I knew that at the end of the class period, the most likely thing that would happen is that they would forget oh, yeah this isn’t mine, and stick it in their pocket, like they do with their own pencils. Then it would go home with them and be placed on a nightstand or desk when they took things out of their pockets at night. If it was a mechanical pencil, I would always ask about it.
Hey, can I have that pencil I lent to you three days ago back?
(we’re going to use bold here to represent a lower, male voice) Uh, yeah, about that. It’s at home. I’ll bring it tomorrow. I promise.
And at that moment, I knew that I had most likely seen the last of that pencil.
Sometimes you get the lent items back, but they have funny smelling laundry detergent on them. And sometimes the books have little creases and tears that you didn’t give them. And sometimes they don’t come back for years. Or never. I lent someone a book by Relient K called The Complex Infrastructure Known as the Female Mind like 5 years ago, and for the life of me I can’t remember who I lent it to. I’ve since come to terms with the loss.
Sometimes you get things back better than when they left. Sometimes they smell better. Sometimes you get a plate back, and not only is it washed, but it has delicious no-bake cookies on it.
Just like friendships. You give love and affection to people, sometimes expecting to get it back, sometimes expecting that they will at least not do you any damage but might even improve you for what you give them. You hand them a part of your heart, sometimes a big chunk, sometimes a little one. Sometimes you don’t expect how people will change you, how they will help you become who you are. How they might make tears or never give that part back. Or they might give it back with an addition, with a part of them, with more love than you gave.
So you end up with a patchwork heart, made up of what you’ve kept safe, what you’ve gotten back from others, what people have given you of them. And it’s beautiful. Even with the pain that probably came with it, it’s a beautiful process, giving of ourselves to others.
Patchwork hearts. That connects us pretty deeply, doesn’t it?