I’ve been producing art since early childhood. I’ve been producing art as an adult child, professionally, as an iconographer for several decades now. Now, I have taken to writing down some thoughts.
On our way to the coffee shop, Zoe kept slipping into random stores and announcing to the strangers she met that she had a “boo-boo.”
Either that or that her name was “Yo-ee”. Since she was facing away from me, and since she has the pronunciation acuity of a 2-year-old, I couldn’t quite tell.
She had recently taken a spill that gave a significant injury to her front teeth. This was the “boo-boo” I assumed she was referencing when talking to the strangers. It got me thinking. I was wondering how much that “boo-boo” must be on her mind that she would introduce herself with “I have a boo-boo.” The spill she took with the inherent trauma, subsequent visits to the dentist’s office, and various probing and attention, measures up to be a big part of her little life. So, it makes sense that she might introduce herself with the announcement, “I have a boo-boo.”
I think Zoe might be onto something! Maybe this is how we should greet one another! Hello and other such introductions are nice and cordial, but “I have a boo-boo”, THAT might cause a revolution in human interaction.
How would it impact our relationships if we saw one another as wounded? Or to expand the idea, how would it be if we saw one another as wounded, cute, innocent, scared, little toddlers?
In pop culture, one of the greatest moments on “Star Trek the Next Generation” was when Captain Jean-Luc Picard had an epiphany of perception. In the “Chain of Command” episodes, Picard was able to see his torturer as merely a scared little boy acting out from a place of fear.
In the examples of the Holy suffering martyrs, we observe the same phenomenon. They are able to see their persecutors with compassion and forgiveness and understanding and as wounded, fear-filled children of God. One new example of this is when Saint Elizabeth the Grand Duchess repeated the words of Christ about her torturers: “…forgive them, they know not what they do.”
And Jesus, our perfect example, at His passion said these words originally, “Forgive them…” Isn’t this the penultimate example of how to perceive the wounds inflicted on us? Jesus sees His persecutors as the fallen children of Adam and Eve. Shouldn’t we? He sees them as children who “know not what they do.” Shouldn’t we?
Some icons, too, seem to nudge us into seeing the little child in one another and ourselves. A hallmark of some ancient (and contemporary) Coptic and Arabic icons is the depiction of Saints as youthful or child-like.
Maybe Zoe’s “new” introduction is really an old one revisited. Jesus has already given this style of greeting to us in His appearance to the Apostles after His resurrection. Jesus greeted Thomas with “Look at my hands and my feet.” Could this be translated into toddler-speak as “I have a boo-boo”?
What would the effect be if, when we greeted each other, our initial thoughts inspired us to remember that we are all merely scared and wounded children? Would we be able to have compassion, patience, and forgiveness towards one another? I suspect we would.
Furthermore, what if we could turn a “boo-boo” greeting towards the vision we have of ourselves? Introspection like that might cause an even bigger revolution. Maybe we would be able to give the cute, little, wounded, fear-filled child within ourselves the things he/she needs: forgiveness, hugs, consolation, emotional and mental provisions, and best of all a true, healing relationship with God.
When Jesus showed His “boo-boos” to the Apostles, He was taking away their fear. He means to take away our fear too. He shows the Apostles and us not only His wounds. He shows us His humanity and approachability while simultaneously, as God, He shows the answer to the why and how questions of our “boo-boos.”
Maybe our ability to see and perceive the “boo-boos” in ourselves and others will bring us to the point where we can humbly bring them to Jesus. He has “boo-boos” too! Maybe we will be able, with some fear removed, to approach and announce and introduce ourselves to God. And maybe we will even be able to mutter to Him with peaceful sincerity and childlike innocence, “I have a boo-boo.”
(c)COPYRIGHT icons by the Hand of Nicholas P. Papas
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