Sometimes you have to rip something up to go forward in life.
My 5 year old asked me to buy him some shirts at Value Village so that he could rip them up and pretend he is Hulk. This of course implies destroying a perfectly good shirt. However, at 99 cents, it’s a cheaper “toy” than any real action figure I could buy him, gets his imagination and body moving and is entertaining for longer than many of the expensive toys he does have in his toy box.
So, I bought a red shirt and a purple shirt for him to rip up. His instructions were very clear – they had to be plain colored shirts with nothing written on them. These, apparently, are the kinds of shirts the Hulk wears. He has had hours of fun this afternoon running around in his ripped shirts making grunting noises. The shirts are now “capes” and that’s ok, too, because apparently Hulk also wears capes.
This, and a recent conversation I had with a friend about releasing what needs to be released in our lives, makes me think about the value of shredding things up metaphorically in order to be able to move forward and have the fun we were meant to come here and have on earth. Ripping something to shreds feels somehow naughty, wasteful and wrong. These are the things we were taught as children. Why ruin a perfectly good shirt?
I have learned today that there are good reasons to ruin a perfectly good shirt that have to do more with unconditional love and freedom of expression. These are values that I espouse to hold higher than thriftiness. What is there in my life that needs ripping up? What am I holding onto because I feel like I “ought” to even though in my heart of hearts I know that I would have more fun shredding it to pieces and moving forward with my life in joy?
“Safe” is a closet full of clothes that no longer suit me, but I can’t let go of because my mother taught me that it was wrong to throw something away that was perfectly good. The clothes are just a metaphor for how we approach most of our lives – we play it safe, we keep what we have, even if it is no longer working for us, because it isn’t exactly “broken” so we should hold on to it, right?
Maybe. Maybe not. I am going to spend some time today thinking about how and where I need to “rip it up.” My little boy just came in to the office to tell me how much fun he is having. His purple shirt is now a collar. The rest has ended up on the floor in one shred or another. If shredding something to pieces in my life is something I need to do in order of live more fully in JOY and PURPOSE, then my prayer is that I will have the courage to do just that – even if it means being uncomfortable because to those around it seems I am ruining something that is perfectly “good.”