Broken Gifts

I had a dream the other night.

(Well, it wasn’t really a dream, but that sounds more poetic than “I had a thought that turned into an extended metaphor the other day”)

I had a dream the other night. It was my birthday. It was my first birthday, I felt that I was the same me as I am now, but somehow I knew it was my first birthday. There is a way you just know things to be true in dreams.

I was in a place. I can’t really describe the place as it keeps changing in my memory, but the place itself is not the thing, but rather the moment is. My father was there. Not my dad, not the one who gave me half my chromosomes, the one who raised me, but my father, my true father.

He came to me and wished me a Happy Birthday, gave me a hug, told me he was so glad to see me, and he gave me a gift. It was beautiful, wonderful beyond description. Honestly, I can’t recall what it looks like, but that’s not important anyway.

He gave me this wonderful gift and told me it was all mine. He made it for me. He handed it to me gently. and told me to be careful, the gift was fragile. I could handle it. I am responsible. I carry so many things, not literally, figuratively. I could handle holding onto his gift. Besides, it was beautiful, couldn’t keep my eyes off it really. He told me I should show it to others, to tell them who gave it to me. Why wouldn’t I?

Well, it seemed that almost immediately I got distracted. I get distracted sometimes, you know because I am responsible for so many things.


I turned around and I knocked the gift over. It cracked. It was still beautiful, but it cracked. I picked it up and hid it away in my jacket. I couldn’t let my father see. I was too ashamed, he had just given me this gift and I dropped it and broke it. I had to find who called my name, it was their fault I dropped it anyway.

I pulled it out of my pocket and noticed the crack had grown. Like a spiderweb growing and expanding. If I could only find some superglue or something to hold it together. Now it was beginning to really lose its luster and I couldn’t let others see it let alone father.

Why did he make it so fragile anyway? He should’ve known not to give it to me.

He called my name.

He must’ve heard. How else could he know? Maybe he didn’t.

He called my name again. When I saw him again he asked me to show him the gift. I told him it was fine and I was keeping it safe. It was a lie, but I had to protect his feelings. I didn’t want him to be mad at me for dropping his gift.

He asked again. This time he said it more forcefully, like it wasn’t an option. I pulled it out of my pocket and by this time pieces were falling off the gift. When I tried to put the pieces back together one of the shards cut me and I began to bleed.

He asked me to give the gift back. I couldn’t give him back pieces, so I tried harder to force the pieces together only cutting myself worse. It hurt so much. No matter how hard I tried the pieces wouldn’t go back into place. In fact, with every attempt to put this gift together it would break further and cut me deeper.

“Trust me”

I handed the gift to him, almost all of it. I kept a few pieces. I wasn’t trying to hold onto these pieces, it’s just that these were the shards that had gotten in my skin. It would hurt to much to pull them out.

He sat there staring at me with such sadness in his eyes.

I’m sorry!  I didn’t mean to break your gift. I tried to put it back together. I couldn’t. It cut me. Why would you give me this to cut me?

He kept looking at me. It wasn’t just sadness, there was something else there.

Please, what more do you want? I’ve given everything you gave me.

Not everything.


I looked to the broken shards deep within my palms. I tried pulling them out. I managed to get a few, but with the blood my fingers kept slipping. I couldn’t quite get the right grasp on it either. The pain was unbearable.

I can’t, do it. I can’t get them out. They’re too deep. They’re never coming out.

There were tears in his eyes. I didn’t know what else I could do. I felt like such a failure.

Give me your hands.

I raised my hands and placed them inside his. Then the real pain began.

He started digging deep to get these shards out. For most of them he had to cut a little bit to release them from my skin. I kept closing my eyes in pain. It was a blinding, searing pain. It felt as though my hands were on fire. I wanted to pull away, and sometimes I did, but I always put them back. He kept asking me to trust him, telling me everything was going to be okay.

My hands were covered in blood. Too much blood. It didn’t make sense, I should be dead. There’s no way I could bleed that much and live. Then I noticed something. Every time he dug at my hands, every time he pulled a piece of the gift out, it cut him. He was bleeding with me. He was bleeding for me. I broke his gift and here he was bleeding, hurting to get the pieces out.

Again I tried to pull back, explaining to him, as if he didn’t understand, how unfair it was. He shouldn’t have to do this.

But you’re my son and I love you.

After some more excruciating pain that felt like a lifetime, but was probably no longer than a few minutes he stopped. The broken pieces had been removed from my hands. And as if by some miracle, the blood was gone and so were my cuts. I didn’t understand. When I went to ask my father about it I noticed his scars were still there.

These scars will remind you of my love and what lengths I am willing to go to make you whole again.

Then he handed me a new gift, somehow more opulent and precious than the one before. I asked him to hold this one for me.