Green Sticks and Broken Bones

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Following is a reflection from my weekly Heretic’s Guide to the Bible lectionary study. For the full study, or for me about how to join the study. CLICK HERE or on the banners at the top or bottom of this post. 

My son, Mattias, wanted to do something special for the last day of summer before he went back to school. His mom and sister were going to the nail salon for pedicures, and that didn’t quite fit with what he had in mind. So the boys headed to the skate park.

He’s always been an adventurous boy, and certainly more fearless than I ever was. I was so fearful that I rode my skateboard on my butt or stomach until the third grade, and I didn’t take the training wheels off my bike until two of the bigger kids in my neighborhood decided it was time and did it for me. Mattias, on the other hand, is going into the fourth grade and was “dropping in” on the top of 8 foot ramps with kids four and five years older than him.

He watched with longing as they skittered up the other side of the ball to the top of the opposing a foot. Finally, he had to try it for himself. The first few times, his ride made it to the top and his body didn’t, but this didn’t dissuade him. He just got back up and tried again. On the fourth try, he fell backward instead of forward, landing with his full weight on his left wrist.

The emergency room diagnosed him with both a stress fracture and something called a torus fracture, also called a “green stick” fracture. Because kids’ bones are softer and more pliable, sometimes they end up with a bend rather than a full break. The doctor explained that, like a stick that dries and gets more brittle with age, so do our bones, and that he was lucky to be so resilient.

Bones and sticks aren’t the only ones. How easily we forget, as individuals and as churches, the incredible value of staying green, of bending without breaking, of being open to change and to being changed along with it.

One of my favorite books growing up was “Rumble Fish,” and my favorite line of all was, “Stay gold, Pony Boy.” I didn’t know exactly what it meant, but it sounded cool. I guess the modern-day equivalent, at least in this context would be, “stay green, Christians.”

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  • Todd

    Are you sure it’s Rumble Fish? I’m pretty sure that Pony Boy is from The Outsiders.

    • mrylesampson

      Pony Boy and the “stay gold” quote is definitely from The Outsiders, but it’s a (somewhat) forgivable mistake because the books were written by the same author, S.E. Hinton, who also wrote and/or co-wrote the screenplays for the two films, both of which were directed by Francis Ford Coppola and were filmed back to back using many of the same actors.