Tag Archives: brokenness

Ernest Hemingway said …

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”

I believe this to be true. 

I’ve been broken so many times that I’ve lost count.

A couple of times, the brokenness nearly won, but for the most part, I came up with my head above water.

What breaks us doesn’t define us, but  having the desire to put the shattered pieces back together does.

I was many times, in the broken places, at my strongest.

I can’t begin to explain the transformation; but there was one.

I’m still looking for lost pieces, but I have faith that if they are meant to be found, they will be.

I do believe Hemingway was spot on when he, a very broken man, said that string of words.

If one hasn’t been broken, they’ve yet to be born and can’t possibly understand the beautiful array of colors that a skewed, broken and pixillated life has to offer.

Until you break it, you can’t begin to know what is inside.

A bit like a Sand Dollar.

Once you’re broken, you can’t stop looking at all the intricate shapes, shards and pieces.

I’m not much on working puzzles, but the pieces and parts of life fascinate me.

I don’t start at the corners.

Instead, I start in the center and build outward because the corners will always be corners.

Those broken already know where the corners are; it is the center that perplexes us and makes us stronger than we would have been were we not broken.

I, as we all do, struggle sometimes.

It’s part of the journey.

If we don’t struggle, we lack understanding and in doing so, give up.

If we give up, the broken places win and the corners cease to matter.

I’m not a poor loser but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t prefer to win.

Romans chapter Twelve is my favorite place in the bible. Each verse speaks to me directly …

But this one, in particular, (Romans 12:12) speaks louder each time I read it …

It says “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instantly in prayer.”

There are times I’m certain God doesn’t hear me. I know, as any believer does, when these dark, silent times come.

The silence is deafening.

Unnerving.

Unwavering.

But at others, when the silence is broken and I know He hears me, I’m mesmerized.

Goosebumps threaten to overtake me and nearly make me forget what I was praying about to begin with.

Life is hard.

It’s hard for everyone.

None of us have the franchise of a life unriddled with trials and hardships.

But it’s also, if you pay attention, riddled with joy.

To give up or give in is a selfish act that says we weren’t willing to fight; to survive.

A coward’s way.

I was a coward for much of my life.

I refuse to be one through the rest of it.

I’ll look for those missing pieces, lost friends, severed relationships, missed opportunities.

I haven’t always, but I do now; but, if I don’t find them, so be it.

I’ll find them somewhere along the way or understand they weren’t for me to begin with.

I’m OK where, often alone, I find myself.

I always have been.

Whom shall I fear?

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Posts about Mother’s Day …

and how much we love and appreciate our mothers will likely be abundant.  My mother knows already how much I love and cherish her as I tell her every day.  My daughter tells me regularly that she loves me and shows it in a thousand beautiful little ways.

This post is, in a round-about way about Mother’s Day, and yet along a different vein altogether.

While for many, even those who have lost their mothers to death, Mother’s Day weekend is a time of tearful celebration.  It is a time to reflect on family, on love, on life itself.

But the celebratory spirit doesn’t reach everyone.

My heart is heavy tonight for those that I both know personally and those I simply know of, who have been unable to conceive a child.  A child that would be cherished above all else.  A child to complete the circle of life as far as they are concerned.

Imagine a day where children are celebrating their mothers,  mothers are celebrating their children and yet, for so many, there is no child to celebrate.

No hand print cards.

No artwork on the refrigerator.

No smells of talcum powder and baby shampoo.

Only an emptiness that threatens to consume them; mind, body and spirit.  A brokenness that soon leads to feelings of failure and inadequacy that fill each waking hour of every single day.   Knowing that they would give the last drop of blood in their body for a single moment of holding that tiny life, born of themselves, in their arms.

Imagine the anger and frustration, the anxiety, depression and psychological pain that comes from the anticipation followed by disappointment, month after year after decade until there is nothing left but a hopelessness that destroys everything good and pure in their lives.

It would, I imagine, be all-consuming and destructive on many levels.

Mother’s day, for them, must be like pouring salt in a wound, shattering an already broken heart.

Yes, my heart goes out to them and I am, even as I write this, crying openly for the hopes and fears that they harbor inside themselves.

I wish I could encourage them, hold them against my breast and tell them that everything will be ok.  But in their minds and hearts, everything is not ok.

So I will do the only thing I know to do … I will pray for peace, for hope, for the fulfillment of their dreams and the for the courage  to face whatever tomorrow may bring.  I believe, with everything in me, in the love of a faithful Heavenly Father and while I don’t always understand His ways, I trust him.

I know that such prayers are answered, for I have seen it with my own eyes, felt it with my own heart and rejoiced in the glory of it with my own spirit.

1John 14-15 ~ 14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15 And if we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

Hope is a good thing … and no good thing every dies.

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It’s not easy …

to look over decisions that we’ve made, roads we have taken, choices we have labored over only to find that they weren’t the right decisions, were the wrong turns and were bad choices.  But it is a constant in our lives.  Not every crossroad we come to will have an outcome that is favorable.  Sometimes, the results can be downright devastating.

If the only person such things effected was ourselves, it wouldn’t, I suppose, matter, quite so much.  But our decisions, our outbursts, our tantrums, our misdirects … they, like a long, intricate line of dominoes, fall, one against another, starting a chain reaction that can last for years and through multiple lifetimes.  Purity and innocence can be taken away so quickly that it would seem as though they never existed.

I have a wealth of understanding on making mistakes and living with them; learning from them.  Some of my mistakes have hurt no one but myself, others have touched the people I love the most, causing pain that was never intended, hurt that, though time has surely layered with a cushion, can never, ever, be completely erased.

I understand pain and insecurity.  I have known joy and heartache with equal measure.  I have lain, curled in a ball while sobs wracked my body to the point that I feared my bones would break and didn’t care if they did.  I have known despair and felt the icy fingers of death claw at my mind.  I have thought long and hard about how easy it would be to simply drift away into nothingness where life could no longer kick me senseless.

It is because of these things that I have more understanding than I wish to, that I stand now, with my head up and my spirit intact.  Life did not break me.  It bent me, at times nearly beyond redemption, but it did not break me.  I look around and see others that have been bruised and bent themselves.  They weren’t broken either, but none of us came out of the fire unscathed.  None of us came away from it all whole, but full of holes that left room for the pain and suffering of others to fill.

Because of my broken road, I have found compassion, I have found empathy and I have found beauty that is so stunning that, at times, it nearly breaks my heart.  And along the path strewn with shards of brokenness, I have found others, stumbling along trying to find their way.  And through discouragement, faith and determination, I was encouraged.  We are all, in one way or another, broken and simply knowing that makes me feel less alone.

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Matthew 12:20 ~ A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench

Life …

is a continuously unfolding journey.  For twenty five years, I have been working as a nurse.  It feels odd to say that as I don’t really feel old enough to have done anything for twenty-five years.  In the beginning, back in the day when nurses still wore hats, I already had a truckload of baggage to carry.  Painful and distressing things that, at times, threatened to destroy the very life I was trying to make for myself.  I had so little to offer the people that I came into contact with for I was so broken and so very vulnerable.  Vulnerability is a handicap.  I know that  it has its place in the perpetual turning of pages, but it makes it no less difficult.  As I sat and listened to the fears and sorrows of patients I came into contact with, I wanted to help them.  I wanted to reach out to them, to comfort them with gentleness and compassion; to tell them everything would be right with the world again.  My problem was that I didn’t believe it and when people have hit the bottom of the world as they know it, they can spot a fraud a mile away.  I wanted to believe it, but so did they and because of that, I could not help them.  I could not comfort them, I could not share any part of myself because I simply didn’t believe that, through my brokenness, I could make a difference in their lives.

As years passed and God continued to refine my life with experiences that were so full of beauty and sorrow and disappointment and pain, something inside me began to change.  A new vision began to emerge.  With each life-changing moment that I encountered, I found that, once I came out the other side, there was both less and more of me.  I was still vulnerable, still insecure, but somewhere along the way, strength began to build inside me.  I began to relate to people on a more personal level, to be able to look them in the eye and try to comfort them with what was born in my heart from my own experiences and know, even as I was saying it, that I could trust it; that the patterns of my life had shifted yet again and an understanding that I simply couldn’t share before began to take shape.  I found that I no longer looked past their pain so I wouldn’t have to share mine, but faced it head on.  I held the hand of a woman who had lost her husband and two sons in a car crash and we cried together.  I hugged tightly the man who just found out his wife of thirty years was dying and he shared his sorrow with me.  I touched the face of a young man who had tried to take his own life and I felt as though I knew his thoughts, for in my own head, the same thoughts had circulated.   I’ve taken so many of them home with me.  I hear their sobbing, see the disillusionment on their face, feel their sorrow in my heart; I pray for them.

This time of year is difficult for so many people.  Those who dread the long days and empty nights, the thoughts and imaginings that seem to come unbidden even as they watch the celebrations going on around them.  They plant a smile on their face, a smile that never reaches their eyes, and try to be part of what is going on because the other choice is just too painful.  Sometimes it is easier to deny that we have pain in our heart than to share it with others.  It’s everywhere.  The worry, fear and anxiety that comes when the rest of the world is coming together in fellowship and joy, celebrating life and happiness.  It is so easy, at this time, to forget to be true to ourselves.  To let the memories flow, the sorrows burst through, the pain shatter again, even if only for a moment.  Without the purging there can never be healing.  And well, for those of us who are vulnerable and so easily hurt by words and actions, it is a bit more difficult.  But nothing lasts forever.  Not sorrow.  Not happiness.  Not youth.  Not life.

When all is said and done, this is the only life I have to live and while it may be imperfect in so many ways, there are moments that are so beautiful that they take my breath away.  It is these moments that I cling to when I feel that there is no one who understands me.  I remember the people I have cried with, the ones who have shared their burdens with me and it brings me comfort to know that even though I am vulnerable, I am not alone.  The world is full of us and sometimes, just having someone to listen and know, that as they listen, they understand, is as close to a miracle as we can get.  Let what you’ve done and what you’ve experienced help to define you in some way, but don’t let it consume you.  There are people who need to know that you have been there and that you can relate to them.  Our lives decorate the lives of those around us even as they decorate ours.  This year, during the “season of giving”, give what only you can; a little piece of yourself.