I broke a glass in the dishwater. Drain plugged, steaming water filling the sink, soap bubbling up, dishes added and left to soak while I drank coffee and fed beasts. I returned to discover shards of glass hidden amongst the suds, one long stem of a wine glass no longer viable. Knowing danger was waiting, understanding other, safer choices were possible, I slide my hands into the water. The secret rush of wondering whether I would get cut. Would I beat the odds, could I find all the pieces and still get the dishes done? A ridiculous game to play for one who avoids risk. A really stupid choice for one with no health insurance. Yet I wanted to win over the brokenness. Just this little battle, a private struggle at the sink, a wine glass, some soap and me.
I am an expert on broken things. I have little sensation in my fingers so I often drop whatever I am holding, I usually keep lids on my cups. I have the same issue with my feet so I trip and stumble as if just learning to walk, especially after a long day. I break stuff. It is no longer remarkable around our home, we use plastic mostly. I don’t bother with glue, usually I create a mess beyond repair. More than that though, I am broken inside. I know my broken soul, my broken heart. These fractures are not meant to be mended either. The words of the great Leonard Cohen express it best, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” My brokenness allows for grace, opens me up for growth. But fractures hurt. Each snapping of a relationship, a connection severed, carries shock-grief-aching-howling-wondering why-rush-to-fix time. I can embrace my broken soul, I give that to God. My heart, though, not so readily. I still howl, I still ache. I resent the cracks, I don’t see the stitched together portions as beauty, I want wholeness. Gifting love to another comes without their promises to handle with care, their assurances not to trip or stumble. Giving without strings, keeping that thread to close our own wounds, unconditional love, agape. This is how we break inside.
Like the glass in my dishwater, many broken things will never go back together, their purpose in my life complete. Facing that reality is easy with a wine glass, unthinkable with a marriage, a career, a child. How do we go on, do we howl forever, do we mourn continually, do we sit in the broken shards, naming and counting our cuts, watching our life drain away? The greater risk is to get a new glass, a fresh start, some Neosporin and a bandaid. Each step moving us away from the pain, maybe edging us to newness, to light. I didn’t get cut when I reached into the water. I walked away whole this time. I have more glasses, I have a healing broken heart. I have new relationships and other wounds still fresh, maybe never to be fully restored. Still, the light shines in. Just as a prism reflects one light into a rainbow, God uses my broken heart, brighter more colorful lights reaching His other broken hearts, a beacon of welcome, a guide to find our way home. With Him as my Healer, my glue, the One to stitch me back up, I howl and cry more softly, I ease toward a new day.