Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Just Some Thoughts (and breaking away from the Alphabet for a bit)

I am broken. I can't deny that. I feel like a doll that has become unhinged from all of her limbs. Sometimes I am scared of everything I can see now that I have been broken. I'm scared of my brokenness, of the brokenness of everyone around me. I'm afraid that there is nothing to help me, no way I can help others.

I'm not asking to be made un-broken. That is part of humanity in this world. When God made us, it was with the ability to break and be broken, to find ourselves in places we never wanted to be. And it was good. I'm asking to find purpose in my brokenness, to accept my brokenness and help others accept theirs so that we can see the beauty in the brokenness. The way the sun shines on us after we have been left out in the cold night. It's there. Sometimes hidden and buried deep past our darkened lenses, but it's there. 

Imagine if you had never seen the dead tree of winter, the way grey comes over the land and swallows it up. If everything was always the green grass, the warm sun on your face, and colors vibrant, would it always be so stunningly beautiful? Or after a new moon, when the moon is full and her light is dancing across the sky, would the magic of those nights still be there? 

Who's to say that brokenness isn't part of wholeness? Not physical brokenness, but brokenness of the soul. It is a feeling, a state that can live beside the state of wholeness because we are so much more complex than material objects. When we shatter, we don't die. We are not irreparable and hopeless. 

Sometimes we become something like mosaics. All those broken pieces and shards, of all different colors and sometimes materials, pulled together into one space, large or small, to make something beautiful or aching. Something that stands up and says "I am here. I am alive." We are in charge of how our mosaic selves come together, whether we know it or not. Do we want to bring all the pieces in, line them up properly, how society says to? Are we going to ignore the hole in the middle of ourselves, try to cover it up with borrowed pieces, or search for the true filler? There are so many dark pieces, but what will they become? More darkness or something that speaks of hope when there shouldn't be any? 

We look to people who have been broken. Who have been broken and bent and so thrown about by life that they should be past mending, but there they stand, wonderful and better for their experience, risen to power not through a search for power, but a search for love and hope and meaning. 

They have been through hell and maybe the rest of us have or will be, too. Our own personal Hells with demons darker than we could have imagined, demons that come from within us, too, not just from outside. To be in hell is to either walk out as life or walk out as death. This isn't to be determined by the situation, by how strong Hell is and how often it leaves us in a comatose with the essence of our selves seeping out onto the cold floor of life. It is to be determined by us. We can choose to be made desolate by our brokenness or to be made into something beyond the humanity we are first born with. 

I can't say that the brokenness, the deadly disconnect from the holy in this world, the cracks forming across my vision, has made my stronger yet. When Jacob wrestled the angel and became Israel, he didn't stand ten feet away. To wrestle with something, to overcome it, one must come into contact with it, touch it, embrace it. I am in that process now. The state of the world, this fallen, broken, bitter state has come to me and shrouded me in its shadows. But unless I take ahold of it, embrace it, for those moments make it mine, I can't be above it. I can't say that it has no power over me until I have wrestled with it. 

That's where I am now. Wrestling. Wrestling with everything wrong I see in this world and everything wrong I see in me. 

That is the scariest part, the part that has me wide eyed and holding my breath with my back against the wall. Myself. There is no enemy to my well-being stronger than myself. I am the one who made a mess of me. The darkness inside is not always obvious. This darkness can seem so wonderful. It can fill us with power and make us think we are okay when we are so far from anything resembling okay. When we are not broken, but decaying. That is the power of the the darkness inside. Decay. We can't break ourselves, but we can let ourselves decay. 

For too long, I didn't wrestle with everything breaking me down, and everything inside that let me be broken down. I let this brokenness become a weakness. I didn't try to overcome it. I kept myself far from it, thinking if I just sat and waited, the bad would fade away. But it's not like that. It takes this wrestling - a questioning and a seeking and confronting and fighting and everything that makes us human; love and doubt and hope and despair - to begin to understand that there is something outside of this darkness. It is suffocating at times, the hold around me so tight that I can't breathe, but I am gaining strength. I will walk out of my hell and I will come out alive. 

I was created with this strength. So much more than I ever could have imagined. To fight everything that wants me dead, shut down and surviving, but not thriving. I'm not the only one. Not the only one broken or decayed or lost in everything that says there is no power to the good in life. And I'm not the only one who can wrestle with it. 

I know who I was before I was broken. She was great in some ways. Someone I wish I could say firmly I am now. She wasn't moved by others. She had so many convictions and stood by them. She loved with all she had. 

But I wonder now, do I have more since I was broken? And I think, yes. Brokenness is a transformative state, one where we find ourselves, the limitations we have set for ourselves and the limitations that are innately ours. For us, these frail souls that are wandering through life, often without direction, we need this brokenness to grow. The brokenness life presses upon our hearts, that threaten to destroy us, or that is what we think anyway, gives us the opportunity to reach for something more. Those who never break are the ones who wrestle with their brokenness, not as a sin, but to say that there is something greater inside. They have moments where they are pinned to the ground, out of breath, bleeding from the effort to not give in to the power of the hurt and the pain and everything so desperate and clawing.  But they don't stop this wrestle. They understand that brokenness is a time of testing. 

That, yes, this brokenness is the refining fire. 

To be past this brokenness is not to leave it behind. To live through it is to have a raw underside to everything beautiful. To sing of love while remembering that there were times when love seemed so far away. For some, to look at God and not forget how much pain it took to stand before Him. This doesn't detract from the awe, from the beauty, but adds to it. Brokenness is the layer under everything that gives meaning to the good, to the beauty. 

When the sacred text of Judaism, of Christianity, says that God looked upon the world He had created and said that it was good, He wasn't just looking at the perfection before Him, but at everything wrapped up in Creation. He created with the possibility of brokenness, with rules and threads and everything. He made all things in a state of perfection, but with imperfection as a path that could be tread upon. I don't know why, I don't think I shall ever know fully. But He would have known the power brokenness could have on his creation and the power his creation could grow in from this brokenness. Maybe that's the good of it. That we can become so much more by experiencing brokenness. To see all the beauty He made with eyes that can better appreciate it. To experience the holy with spirits that can know the power wrapped inside the holy more than they ever could have before. 

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