As I cracked open a can of beer from a local brewery yesterday, I noticed that the refreshment was surprisingly warm. The culprit was a broken fridge.
Fortunate to have a vacant apartment across the hall to temporarily store our perishable items, I spent the next twenty minutes transporting these items to safety.
This presented an opportunity to reflect on how things break, including us.
Things break. Some items can be fixed, some need to be replaced. Everything has a shelf life, a limitation, and end- including us.
It is the inevitable final chapter to the story of our life, your life, my life. Oddly enough, we may not even recognize it when it occurs.
In the chapters of our life that occur before the end, we break. And often.
We are broken. If we like it or not, brokenness is a part of our human condition. The spiritual challenge is to embrace it, to learn from it, and to find God there.
Henri Nouwen says the following about being broken:
Jesus was broken on the cross. He lived his suffering and death not as an evil to avoid at all costs, but as a mission to embrace. We too are broken. We live with broken bodies, broken hearts, broken minds or broken spirits. We suffer from broken relationships.
How can we live our brokenness? Jesus invites us to embrace our brokenness as he embraced the cross and live it as part of our mission. He asks us not to reject our brokenness as a curse from God that reminds us of our sinfulness but to accept it and put it under God’s blessing for our purification and sanctification. Thus our brokenness can become a gateway to new life.
Author, Dr. Wayne Dyer famously said, “if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” How can you look at our brokenness with these new eyes?
Inevitably, parts of our body will break down. So will our belongings, our ideas, some relationships, and some hopes. In these disappointments, a new road emerges from the brokenness. A new opportunity to come to know God and to find our true self.
In conclusion, consider this short video segment called “The Golden Buddha Story” from the Finding Joe film about Joseph Campbell’s work on the heroes journey. This sweet segment captures the opportunity before us, to delve into our cracks and our brokenness to better discover the God that lives within.