I once presented to a group with a broken fly zipper. Many people are afraid of speaking to groups–it’s been part of my job for so long that I’m pretty comfortable with it now. Except when my zipper breaks an hour before I’m scheduled to speak.
It worked out OK…I’m pretty sure the audience never knew. You see, I’ve been carrying safety pins for decades. I no longer remember the incident which first prompted that habit, but I was sure grateful that I hadn’t ever given it up, through years of swapping countless purses. “They don’t take up much room, and you never know”, I told myself. No, you don’t.
I was unusually nervous, but I got through that presentation with my broken zipper. I’ve realized that much of life is like that. We stumble through the stress and chaos, sometimes feeling strong and brave, and sometimes facing others with hurt feelings or insecurities, or any of the countless temporary burdens or permanent scars we carry. Sometimes those around us can see our burden; sometimes we can safety pin over it and fool them. As I’ve aged and become more aware of, and even comfortable with, my own flaws, I’ve tried to remind myself to have patience with others. I don’t always succeed, sometimes getting frustrated with them. But heaven knows I have my share of broken zippers…the least that I can do is overlook my neighbor’s.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” –Philo