Ann Farabee column: Fragile

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 4, 2021

By Ann Farabee

The package was delivered.

The first thing I noticed was the warning: Fragile.

Some packages may not give a warning that it is fragile.

Instead, they may give these instructions: Handle With Care.

Either way, we know that what is in the package may be damaged or broken if we do not handle it with care.

For me, the warning worked. I picked that package up, carried it carefully into my house, and placed it gently on the table. As I opened it, I had to go through styrofoam packaging to get to it, so apparently the sender and the postal workers had been careful, too. It was not broken or damaged.

Do we pay attention when we see that an item is fragile or needs to be handled with care? At my house, I often hear or say something like this, “Be careful! That will get broken!” Or perhaps I should say, “Handle with care! That’s fragile!”

But how about us? Not packages — but people.

We do not have a sign on us that warns: I am fragile.

Nor do we have a sign on us that instructs: Handle With care.

But sometimes, it would almost be appropriate.

If we will pay attention to those around us, we may know, anyway.

We may see it in their actions.

We may see it in their movements.

We may see it on their face.

We may see it in their eyes.

We may hear it in their voices.

They are in a stage of their lives where they may feel damaged or broken.

They are crying out: I am fragile. Please handle with care.

Perhaps they lost a loved one. They are still grieving greatly, although we wrongly assume they have begun to move forward.

Perhaps someone is dealing with a personal or private problem they do not often talk about to others.

Perhaps it is a son, a daughter, a mother, a father, a grandparent, a neighbor, a friend, or even a pastor — all struggling with a heavy load that they do not feel will ever be lightened.

Perhaps it is a prison inmate, a hospital patient, the employee working hard to make ends meet, the one close to bankruptcy, or those living in an unhappy home.

Perhaps it is someone who is elderly, someone who is too busy, someone who lives alone, someone who needs encouragement, someone who is depressed, or someone who needs a friend.

No, the words “I am fragile” and “handle with care” are not written on their T-shirts, but they are written on their hearts.

You will know who they are —

Reach out to one of them today.

There’s a promise from God about doing that.

Luke 6:28 says, “Give and it shall be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Ann Farabee is a teacher, writer and speaker. Contact her at or

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