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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Broken Places

A favorite quote of mine is from Hemingway.  He said, "The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places."  I think that this is for the most part true.  Almost everyone I know has been broken in one way or another.  And while God does enter into those broken places, allowing for a sometimes supernatural strength, they are broken nonetheless.  Like an amputated limb, there is never a complete recovery. Only a resolve to live life to the fullest in spite of our handicap, to overcome our soul's disabilities and live in the fullness of joy no matter what.

Tonight I ache in the broken places.  My heart yearns for my little boy.  I am covered from head to toe with the raw power of loss.  It's not pleasant, but it is honoring.  It honors Eddie's life and memory.  It honors God too.  Because it is genuine and true and I am bringing it to Him just as it is, just as I am.  A broken and a contrite spirit He will not despise.  And tonight I am broken.

I know where to go when I feel this way.  I take a deep breath and I thank God that He is with me.  Then I sit with the pain, the awful, burning, sanctifying, glorifying pain and try to just experience it.  Accept it for what it is.  To feel it to its fullest so that I can grow from it and move past it to a place of greater peace and understanding, a greater gratitude for the life that I got to share and for the God who gave me that privilege.

We who have experienced great loss have been given a gift.  We have been given a reason and an opportunity to run to the shelter of an all-loving God with desperation.  Sri Ramakrishna said, "Do not seek illumination unless you seek it as a person whose hair is on fire seeks a pond."  That is how I need God.  How I seek Jesus.  It is not an option; it is a burning, fierce necessity.

Hemingway ultimately committed suicide.  I think it was not because he was more broken than the rest of us, but because he failed to seek the One who can give true strength.  The One who shines through the gaps of our brokenness, not only filling us with His glory but allowing it to shine through us to others.  Tonight I am grateful for my broken places.  For the lessons they have taught me, the strength He has given me through them.  I pray that they are a blessing and a source of illumination to you all.    

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