Sparkling glittering shining objects gather dust under Plum’s bed, old jewelry boxes and wooden drawers become secret compartments for his treasures. Chains from dogs who have passed away, slivers of ribbon, an earring I left on my dresser, a burnout lightbulb, anything that glimmers is stowed away amongst the stray bits of beast hair and cracker crumbs, the sweeper unable to manage the maze of riches. He sleeps, dreams above his stores, his slumber content that his wealth safe. He protects prizes that are castoffs, items no longer wanted by anyone else, he sees glory in the imperfections, maybe doesn’t notice the missing parts, uneven edges. The lock that doesn’t have a key, the scrap of paper from an old valentine with a trail of peeling glue where specks of glitter once were. He knows wealth is truly understood only in our hearts.
I too like broken things, the bits of imperfection speak to my soul. I find comfort in artistry with flaws, incomplete sets of dishes, mismatched furniture. Stories live there, both in what has survived and what is missing. When pressed to display Christmas dishes given to me many years ago when the donor was due for a visit, panic set in. Too many pieces, every imaginable plate or bowl, glasses, cups, a gravy boat and salt and pepper shakers, overwhelming in the utter completeness of it all. Too perfect. Too much pressure. No story in these dishes, nothing to imagine or dream about, every detail filled in, there is no room for me here. I collect broken things, stray cats, real people with scrapes and scars, a bit disheveled by life.
Being vulnerable enough to show our own wounds allows the air to reach them, starts the healing process. Injuries hidden away grow infected, abscess, destroy the whole body. The mask of perfection appears shiny, glittering, but will never be treasured in any soul box under God’s bed. Those masks keep us apart, distanced, hide our tears, the real shine of honesty unseen. I can’t find anything in the bible about Jesus wearing fancy robes or stylish sandals but I do remember the verse that says He wept. I imagine his brown skin gleaming with the mix of water and salt as those tears glistened in His eyes, ran down his cheeks. The ultimate in vulnerability, shininess of broken made whole only in Him. I see that same sweet truth when my pastor gets real on the raised bias as he teaches us weekly or as I pour out my broken fearful heart to him and he hears me, really helps carry my pain. His eyes sometimes leak out realness. I see a man who understands broken things and collects us all into his congregation, stores us up, asks us to go find more beaten and battered people to bring in to God’s love. Being broken doesn’t mean we need fixed, it means we are healing, we are allowing the air of hope and truth to reach our wounds. Allowing others to know we have pain alerts the whole body of Christ to our sorrows, allows them to share our burdens, encourages them to lower their masks and display their own mismatched pieces. What if we all got so real that we wept at church and cried out to God together to heal us, heal our world? What if we stopped saying “I’m fine” and truly answered each other? What if we listened and watched and valued the glistening of tears as the treasure of a soul being bared?
I know that God collects the broken, the weak, the poor, the needy. The perfect have no need for Him. They are already complete, like my Christmas dishes. Have you any room in your treasure box for another broken soul? Can you see the shine of bits and bobs, the cast offs? I encourage you to lower your mask, remove the obstruction from your eyes, uncover your ears, listen with your heart. Broken treasures surround us all.