Beauty in Brokenness
I remember as a kid, one day being startled as a “thump” of something hit the window. When I went to investigate, a bird had somehow flown directly into the window and was sitting, wounded and stunned, on the porch.
We weren’t sure what to do, so we gently picked it up and tucked it into a shoebox with a blanket and some bird seed (and I think cereal, as I recall– we thought that good hosts should offer a variety of meal choices. haha), and tried to nurse this creature back to health.
I remember the soft, broken point of her wing. The tiny, glittering eyes staring at us, not revealing anything about what was going on inside.
It was strange to see something so beautiful, so oddly broken. So fragile. So helpless.
Life is a strange beast. When you are young, everyone tells you that you should “just wait until you grow up. Then you’ll see.” You grow up a bit. Perhaps enter high school. “Just wait. Wait until you enter college. Then you’ll see.”
You get to college, and by then everyone has moved a step ahead of you again. “Wait till you get married. Then you’ll see.”
Next is “wait till you have kids.” “Wait till they’re teenagers.” “Wait till you’re as old as I am.” “Wait till you find out that this sickness or this pain is never going to go away.”
Wait. Then you’ll see.
I think perhaps our views are flawed. Perhaps the frantic race to each step is doing it backwards. Perhaps we should somehow get hold of the idea that life is not about “achieving” each new milestone. It’s not about topping someone else, or sharing an exact path or journey which is uniquely his or her own. Perhaps each of those steps has its own particular beauty– its own achievements to celebrate.
Perhaps the journey really is the destination.
I think that if we really look, we can find beauty in the most strangely humble and broken parts of our lives. A friend dies from cancer. You receive a frustrating health diagnosis. You look at your career and realize that you thought by now you would be farther up the ladder. The big house and money you expected to have may never become a reality. Your children are individuals who operate by a set of rules so contrary to yours that you are left wondering how in the world they could make certain choices or do certain things.
Find the beauty in the brokenness.
Happiness is not a mystical secret. It is not a carrot held tantalizingly out of reach, while you plow the fields, panting to achieve and conquer it. Perhaps happiness is not the goal, at all. Perhaps happiness is the all-too-easily overlooked beauty of the journey, itself.
Happiness is modest. Quiet. Easily overlooked. It is the chubby fingers of your child reaching for yours. It is the laughter of friends. The soft, sleeping breathing of a spouse sharing your warmth beside you. It is a cup of tea and good book on a warm autumn day. It is the kiss of a loved one. It is the cozy companionship of a pet, or the softly kissed pink sky of the morning sunrise. It is a million little things a day that come together in a tapestry with such beauty it can take our breath away, if we let it.
Learn to see the beauty in the simplicity before you.
I think eventually one day we came to check on our little patient in the shoebox on the porch, and she was gone. I like to think that she flew in the night– confident enough to slowly and tentatively go out on her own again, after a few brief days in the safety of our care. We weren’t really sure how to help her, but we tried. We really tried. But the healing had to be done on her own.
Beauty in brokenness. Learning to live one day at a time, and appreciate each one.
Friendship may not always know what to say– how to reach out and say, “I love you. You are hurting, and I want to help, but I don’t know how.” Love may not always know how to communicate that “I don’t always understand what you’re going through, but I care. I’m here. You’re never, ever alone.” Happiness may not always be in our face, as bright and attention getting as a fireworks display. Sometimes, happiness is that quiet voice that whispers to you at the end of the day, “remember the beauty of today. Remember the many little pieces which formed the tapestry of it. Isn’t it beautiful?” Find the beauty in a million little broken pieces, and then assemble them, piece by piece, in the beautiful mosaic of your life.
Beauty in brokenness.
Happiness in every day.
Joy in the little things.
Never abandon you in the dark parts.
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.
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