[Part 7, Chapter 48]
“Anything extra precious here, mate?”
Julie was out, and I was alone with the removalists, left with a responsibility beyond my care factor.
Thankfully, I remembered. “Oh, yes, there is one thing.” I pointed out the antique porcelain washing set Julie inherited from her Granny. “This is really precious,” I stressed. “She’ll be devastated if it gets broken.”
You guessed it.
Out of the entire house removal, the only broken item was this prized personal legacy so dear to Julie’s heart.
Painstakingly, Julie glued it together, an act of dedication and love, her Granny’s memory never far away.
Alas, another house shift, and it was broken again.
But you can’t break Julie’s connection with her Granny that easily. It is the piece itself, not the wholeness or perfection, that sustains Julie’s memories.
The broken pieces of the washing set now sit in a beautiful wooden dish, carved out from the burl of a gum tree. It has pride of place in the room where Julie sits with broken women and hears their story. It is the room where Holy Spirit reminds us that we are integrated beings: body, soul, mind, spirit, imagination, heart, and will.
Deliberately displayed, the shattered pieces of the washing set are a visible picture of the beauty that exists in our brokenness. We try to fix things, but we can’t. Yet the brokenness doesn’t rob us of the precious nature of what is gifted.
Our brokenness doesn’t disqualify us from favour.
I doubt it has been better expressed than like this:
But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.” (2 Corinthians 4:7-10)
I’ve been working with the staff in a school where a young student died from cancer. The whole community was broken. When I led a chapel service there, I noticed the songs contained lyrics expressing the reality of pain and darkness and how these don’t define us, even though we are hurting and broken. They weren’t cute songs of escapism, but gutsy songs expressing the reality of Father holding us in all that we can’t see, gently leading us back to trust in him because of the trust he has placed in us.
They were songs of favour.
Just like this one.
Every tear, every doubt
Every time you’ve fallen down
When you’re hurting, feeling shame
When you’re numbing all your pain
When you’ve lost your way
And feel so far away
You’re beautifully broken
And you can be whole again
Even a million scars
Doesn’t change whose you are
Every fear of being loved
For who you are no matter what
When you’re stumbling, with each step
And you’re haunted by regret
And the darkness closes in
You’re Beautifully Broken
And you can be whole again
Oh, the God who made the stars
Is the God that made your heart
And he’s holding you right now
He can heal the broken parts
And make beauty from the scars
You’re dearly, wonderfully, beautifully, made
© 2018 Plumb Music, from the album Beautifully Broken, by Plumb