When I was growing up, I loved Band-Aids®. Although there were very few variations back then, the presence of a Band-Aid® on a scuffed knee or elbow was comforting—“This, too, will heal.”
Then I became a metaphor-loving adult, and learned about the idea that “Band-Aid® solutions don’t really solve the underlying problems.” Now, it seemed, the ubiquitous flexible bandage was not as helpful—at least metaphorically—as I had thought.
Later in life—from a source long lost to my memory—I found good reasons to restore my trust and admiration of Band-Aids®. It turns out that these simple pieces of medical technology provide an extremely valuable function: They hold wounded flesh together—even if only temporarily—helping the healing process and shutting out possible infections. Without Band-Aids®, even small injuries could turn into larger problems.
Staying in Metaphor Land for a few moments, I’m thinking that older adults may fill bandage-like functions in relationships. It’s likely that many of us may be the single most- important element in holding families and friendships together during difficult times. Because of our well-earned respect and authority, we can help foster healing where relationships have been wounded.
Our family, friends and colleagues may rely on us to see both sides of a interpersonal problem, to calm emotional wounds, to fiercely guard loved ones from danger or bad influences. We know how to protect those we love dearly with dependable personal power. We’re flexible enough to adjust to the changing shapes and movements inside vulnerable relationships. And when healing has taken place, we can still remain close at hand, ready to be a first step if restoration or wholeness is needed.
The metaphor extends only so far, I know. But it feels good for me to hold on to this idea that my presence—bringing along the wisdom of experience and grace—could be a major factor in any number of relationships that are troubled. I’m not a therapist, but I can help bind individuals and groups together until other help arrives. My commitment—I’m fastened tightly to people who depend on me—is sturdy and steady. And I’m not going away until I’m ripped away from this sacred work of being a Band-Aid®.
In my metaphorically appreciative musings here, it’s even possible that there’s something about being a Band-Aid® that’s a calling not unlike Jesus’ own. Like the Good Samaritan—who bound up the wounds of the injured traveler—or like Jesus’ healing touch, I can be the ready presence of God in situations where relational bandaging is exactly the kind of spiritual first aid that’s necessary.
So where am I right now with the whole Band-Aid® phenomenon? I’m totally onboard with the idea—our medicine cabinets are home to several styles and styles of flexible bandage strips. I enjoy using the several newer varieties and sizes of this humble medical marvel.
Finally, by this blog’s frequent reference to a certain trade-marked brand of adhesive bandages, I have now extended my appreciative thanks to the good folks at *Johnson & Johnson, and the legacy of Earle and Josephine Dickson, whose 1920 invention has kept so many of us healthy and held together for so many years.
Metaphorically and in real-life!
*To read more about the history of this marvelous invention, see https://www.band-aid.com/brand-heritage