Aug. 7, 2018

The Bright Side of Broken

I love the early morning, that momentary gap, where the borders of day and night are ill-defined.  The momentum of life is stilled, and the air is uncluttered with conversation. There is a quiet sense of something lost, and yet I know that in the deepest dark before dawn, God is preparing for the arrival of light. 

I am intrigued by the gaps. In a world that values the rigid borders of black and white, I am at home in the unused corners, free to wrestle between pain and praise, between what is and what could be, and between where I am and where I wish to go. 

My story has not been written in an ordered narrative.  There have been many starts and stops.  And in this particular season, the battle seems to have caught up with me.  I wear it in my eyes these days, the grief, the regrets the mountains unmoved.  There are dark purple circles and wrinkle wings along the edges.  Hard things have interrupted the plot.  It seems as if once I have decided the next chapter, something comes along that doesn't fit in with what came before or what comes after.

It has taken me a long time to realize that life is not as clearly defined as I once believed. I don’t have to be perpetually happy to have abounding joy, faith and fear can coexist, and gratitude and grief are not mutually exclusive. Some things cannot be fixed, cheered out of or corrected. They can only be carried in companionship.   

I am not impressed by rigidity, position, and power.  I am not inspired when being liked is more important than being honest and where perfection is the only respectable option.  I don’t wish to be clever all the time. I am influenced by people who are vulnerable and real.  I am inspired by moments of confession and compassion, and I long for a community that allows for hard questions and honest conversations.  Transparency stirs up transformation. And isn’t transformation the point?

Life is interesting and complicated and beautiful. I am confounded by the demand for perfection, and the denial of paradox.  In our need to over filter and soften reality, variety is lost, diversity is diminished, and creativity is repressed. One-dimensionality and inauthenticity are the enemies of connection.  Life with Jesus is sweetly complex. 

The most beautiful thing about broken is that in the midst of the mess is One who knows everything and loves me anyway.  The One whose love for me runs deeper than any cultural difference, social standing, and sinful nature.  A vessel many would have tossed away as trash He values as treasure.  Life is tender and tenuous, but isn’t that a story we should tell?  “Come and see the One who knows everything I’ve ever done” and loves me anyway. 

Our human nature is to resist vulnerability.  We work to filter and hide our frailty and failure from one another.  But to share what we so desperately try to deny, is to break the cycle of shame and hiddenness that serves to separate us. 

When we are tenderly broken in the wilderness, when we embrace those momentary gaps where the borders of day and night are ill-defined, when we fully admit our need for a Savior, we can finally trust that where our capabilities end, His begin.

God uses imperfection beautifully, it is the bright side of broken.