The Beautifully Broken

Two weekends ago my wife broke her right arm after a snowshoeing trip. This morning was an interesting time since my daughter Amy’s school finally reopened after Portland’s rare snow event. I was finally able to catch up on some of the work that is needed to keep a house functional and reflected on how much we as humans rely on others for so much.

Last winter I was broken. Bone spurs had formed in my lower spine and physical therapy was a constant yet needed torment. I couldn’t bend or lift much, and my wife got to carry the burden of the housework, mostly on her own. I did what I could, but I felt absolutely inadequate for the first time in my life. I was broken and it felt ugly to me. Because it felt ugly I failed to recognize the service that others were gifted to bring me, and now that I think about it, I see how beautiful it is when communities gather around others in support. Now we must be dependent again, but this time my wife who is healing from a complex break must struggle with the ugly brokenness of a complex fracture. There is beauty here as well, and now as I feel overwhelmed by the housework and the kids, as we struggle with a 1 year old who doesn’t understand why Mama can’t pick her up, as we receive the blessings of a community looking for ways to serve I hope I don’t miss the beauty.

We are all broken, but there is beauty in the brokenness when we accept the gifts of others, when God comes alongside us through the tangible ministry of our faith community. This beauty is hard for me to accept because it forces me to look at the brokenness, but there is a deeper beauty to be had. There is the deepest beauty of looking at the brokenness and saying no matter how ugly it gets the beauty is stronger and will outshine and overwhelm the ugliness. Through the breaks beauty shines. Through the breaks the Light of the Spirit pours out in streams of living water. I still hate the brokenness, but I can withstand it if the beautiful Light of God shines through others into me.

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