In my hands I hold story pieces belonging to an elderly man I never knew. The truth and sentiment of this has gripped my heart in a way unexpected.
The story pieces I hold include an old farm game, a cardboard box filled with tattered old crayons from his second grade year- which his mother lovingly decorated his name on the top, a pencil box from later years filled with pens and pencils- his name then neatly scrolled in his own cursive penmanship… and a child’s play shaving kit.
It was the old shaving kit that did it. It gripped my heart and caused me to fight back tears.
Perhaps, it’s because I can so easily envision my own six year old son playing wholeheartedly with a miniature bar of soap, and a tiny tube of real toothpaste. Maybe I wonder what this old-man-young was like. One day, not really so very long ago, he stood in front of a mirror, lathered up his face with the mini bristly shave brush and carved off cream in streaks with his plastic razor. He combed his hair with the comb, and dabbed on aftershave from the mini sized vial. I’m sure his mother kissed his “clean shaven” fresh smelling face all over. Little Jerry Lee used up every bit of this shaving kit. Still, he saved it.
Each item used up. Each item saved. A broken comb. Toothbrush. Toothpaste. Three teeny tiny glass jars of aftershave and cologne. Mini shave brushes and a bar of soap. Cardboard razors to fit in the plastic razor head. Little Jerry Lee even cut out and colored a few cardboard razor blades of his own. Perhaps he used the crayons from his second grade crayon box- the one which his mother so lovingly put his name.
Story pieces that Jerry Lee saved for 60 years. Story pieces that meant something to him. Story pieces that now mean something to me. Someone, somewhere named Jerry Lee Myers cared enough to neatly save and preserve a few pieces from his childhood. These were more than “things” to him. He was saving memories, feelings, warmth, security, love, a piece of home. Jerry Lee had a tender heart to want to save a precious few treasures, pieces from his childhood, pieces from his beginnings, pieces that founded the man he was.
I am saddened by the fact that Jerry Lee is probably no longer here. His story pieces were acquired at an auction, that more than likely came from his estate. I am sure Jerry Lee never thought some sentimental girl born and raised in Indiana would ever wonder about him, a Colorado native, because of a used up old shaving kit toy. I wonder, and I hope that Jerry Lee had a good long life filled with laughter. I hope his hardships weren’t too hard. I hope he experienced love. Deep love. I hope he knew that he was a treasure to Jesus.
Jerry Lee’s story pieces have caused me to think about my own. What legacy of story will I leave? What pieces will be left behind for some to wonder about me? His pieces also make me realize that my own little boy, and three precious girls need lots more kisses, and tons more hugs. These precious days, and pieces of their own childhood story don’t last nearly long enough for this mama’s heart. I’m sure Jerry Lee’s mama soaked in those precious days of her little boy shaving “just like daddy” in front of the bathroom mirror. I want to be sure to soak in these days, too.
The most riveting thing about Jerry Lee’s shaving kit is that it was all used up. Every drop. Every bit. Completely. Empty. He sucked every bit of enjoyment from those tiny vials, the tube of toothpaste, the shaving soap. Gone. Perhaps some of it spilled accidentally. Perhaps parts of our own stories are not so different .
Some of our lives get spilled out unexpected. Poured out. Used up. Emptied. Given. That is what I want the story pieces of my life to be. Not a drop left. Perhaps Jerry Lee was sad when the contents were empty, but there was still enough treasure to save. Legacy, that I, the Indiana girl with the heart sentimental, now hold in my hands. Thank you, Jerry Lee for the lesson well learned. Thank you for preserving your story pieces so that I could think about my own, and encourage others to think about theirs. Thank you, Jerry Lee, thank you.
Shanda Sargent belongs to her beloved, Matt, and homeschools their four very cool kids near the foothills of the Rockies. After almost 20 years of pastoral ministry, their family is “ruthlessly trusting” God in the midst of plan B. You can follow her blog, where she rambles her heart’s stirrings once every couple of weeks at http://www.theupsidedownpastorswife.blogspot.com, follow her on Twitter @willowlight44, or friend/subscribe to her facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Pinkbutterfly23