I have not always felt this kindly towards it though. I never gave it a passing glance or even a thought. In fact I thought it was ugly and shapeless. I didn’t think it gelled in with the formal antique décor of my house. I associated it with indiscipline somehow. A seat is supposed to have a specific shape, height and support for the back isn’t it? I had to reluctantly give in when my boys wanted a bean bag because everybody had it. But I steadily started hating it for all the reasons I mentioned, until one day it taught me a beautiful lesson, or rather it was instrumental in teaching an important lesson.
The beanbag had been in my house for about five years when one day as usual my boys were playing this game wherein they were jumping on to it from the bed. It has withstood so many years, but that day it burst and the beans inside flew out. For my boys it was another game. Soon the thermocol balls were flying all over and imagine my shock when I returned home to find these scattered all over. I started to hyperventilate seeing the huge mess! I screamed at the boys for the mess and hollered for the maid to come and clean up. She came in and her eyes widened in astonishment. She told me something so plain and simple that moment, but it made me stop my shrieking and reflect! She said, ‘How can you gather it all once it’s been scattered? You should have been careful!’ I know that she meant the mess and all, but to me it struck a chord in its profundity.
How often do we speak or let loose what is on our mind without thinking? How often do those words, the barrage of words, cruel, unkind and malicious and spewed venomously in moments of anger, selfishness or careless thoughtlessness hurt and aggrieve people around us? Can we take back words once it’s been uttered or scattered? Our words sometimes leave a huge mess that probably remains a mess for a long time.
It’s good to be ‘full of beans’, but one needs to make sure they don’t scatter. Our words should impact, not hurt or enrage, they ought to spur one into constructiveness, not provoke into destructiveness, should lighten not burden. Finally our words should enrich and empower, never enslave.
I looked down at my torn beanbag fondly. These were after all just thermocol balls not words. They could be gathered with reasonable amount of effort. Taking in a deep breath, I set about my, in retrospect, simple task!