“This is not the life I’d hoped for myself.”
Such is the sentiment that often seems to be on the lips on folks both in my faith community and among others that I love. And, it is a scary place to be, to even say aloud. It’s dark. It’s lonely, and it’s found in a state of being without a lot of comfort. There are sleepless nights, actually many of them. And from our weary voices we cry, hoping that someone hears:
I’m 36 and not married and really want to have children with a partner I love . . .
I always imagined I’d make more than minimum wage . . .
I thought I’d be growing old with the person I said, “I do” to 40 years ago until cancer came. . .
I thought this job would last forever and I’d retire from here until . . .
I always believed my son would one day have a father. . .
I imagined four generations around this Thanksgiving table . . .
It’s the land of broken pieces that our journey has brought us too.
And like seeking to put together a 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzle without the box top for a guide, we throw up our hands and say, “This is just too hard for me! I want to quit.”
Quitting looks so appealing . . .
Yet, consider this: what if the broken pieces weren’t simply named for what they weren’t, but what they were.
Sure, such pieces are cracked, ugly, and will never to be mistaken for perfect. But, what if they had their own unique gifts to share?
Gifts like being given over to a new puzzle that is more beautiful. Or, being able to connect with other similar broken pieces in ways that was impossible before?
What if the broken pieces were the way things were to be all along? That in the brokeness, the unexpected wasn’t exactly “bad” but just the unexpected with new opportunities to learn to love ourselves and others more in the meantime?
There’s nothing worse, I realize sometimes that realizing that your life is forever in a thousand little pieces, but what I fear in many is that the new pieces stop the joy of what could be next.
There’s one thing I know for sure, once you’ve been broken, you don’t really like being around the nice and shinning pieces as much as you did before. The most beautiful pieces become those like yourself who have looked their ugly brokeness in the face and have not let its blessings run too far away.
So, maybe the calling is for all the broken pieces to unite, to stand together, and to say “this is what real life looks like.”
As a Christian pastor, I say this is what church looks like. This is what community feels like. These are the lessons of life that many of our mommas never taught us, but will serve us well to get to know better in our search of this beautiful broken thing we call eternal life.