Adjective: having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order
Broken. Things. Things get broken. A plate left to you from your Grandmother. A necklace from your loved one. My favorite giraffe knick-knack knocked off the shelf I told my son not to run past. Broken in pieces. And, no matter how careful I was gluing my precious giraffe back together, it would forever bear the cracks of that fall. Not only that, but there was that one area I couldn’t fix. One spot that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t quite get all the pieces to fit, leaving a gaping hole in my once perfect treasure. But you know what? I love that giraffe more now than I did when it was perfect. Because now when I look at it I see my sweet son’s face, tears streaming down his little cheeks, picking up those broken pieces, sitting beside me, handing me the glue, chattering about how it was like one of his puzzles and how happy he was that he could help me with one because I always helped him with his. And when we were finished, I lifted my son up and he returned it to its home, in all its broken beauty. Then he wrapped his arms around my neck and told me he loved me.
That’s what happens when WE break. Not a thing, but a soul. We are standing whole one minute, and then we blink and we find ourselves scattered in pieces, with no warning. And as we are left in the midst of the unholy mess, we realize that it is the very pillars of our foundation that have cracked. And we retreat into ourselves, desperately clinging to the few shards that are us. Hiding so no one can see us for fear of being judged as frail. As fragile. As damaged goods. That was how I imagined people saw me, so I refused to use the word “broken” because I was NOT any of those things. It was no matter that my bare feet were bloodied from standing in the shattered pieces of what was once me. It seemed that the more I ran from that word, the more it broke me.
And then one day, I stopped running. I stopped and I sat in the meaning of being broken. I took stock of my life and my journey and where I am now and where I thought I would be. And I promise you, where I thought I would be most certainly wasn’t where I was. And I looked back at how I got here, and the pain and the agony it took to pick up each piece, to try and figure out how to make it fit again and having to concede that not all pieces were fixable.
When I stopped that day, when I looked back at the chapters of my life that encompassed my re-gluing, I finally realized the messy beauty those pages contained. Make no mistake, it is a long, tedious, grueling task gluing one’s self back together. It will leave you exhausted, some days empty, some days questioning what the finished product with look like, and if it’s even worth it. There will be cracks and missing slivers and gaping holes. Some areas will demand a lifetime of gluing and regluing. It isn’t what any of us imagined our souls would look like, but it is in those cracks where our strength lies.
And my dear friend, every day that you force yourself out of bed, that you swallow your fear and go outside, that you simply stop crying, that is you picking up your pieces and building a new, better, stronger and more beautiful you.
Be proud of that person you are creating. Be proud that you are stronger than whatever it was that broke you. Because the breaking is easy, it happens to most at some point in life. But the beauty, ahh the beauty. That is only found in those who own their brokenness and allow the resilience that flows through their cracks and slivers and holes to flow into those whose pieces are still being placed.
I have been ashamed of myself in this life, but I will no longer be ashamed of being broken. Because it wasn’t until I owned my brokenness that I was able to pick up my pieces and glue myself back together. And when I sit with myself now, I am sitting with a warrior who stood in the midst of the broken pieces and dared to reglue then and is now brave enough to stand and bare her soul – to invite those who are still in the midst of their brokenness to reach out and feel the cracks, crevices and holes and to find their strength in the beauty of her brokenness.