The Scripture Scout
This is an emotional three part post;
read at your own risk! :-)
We heard glass break on our anniversary one year. I report that is was only the stem of an engraved champagne glass from our wedding reception. No big deal, but hard to lose. We only drink out of them once a year on our anniversary (Dec 18) to remember a year passed together and welcome another to come. It was only the stem, but we can’t drink out of it anymore or set it on the table. I actually cried when I realized what had broken because to me it represented a most difficult year in our lives. How ironic that it should end with broken glass. My husband held me while I cried. I’ve spent several years, off and on, trying to find ways to fix that glass.
My mother-in-law heard something break in the dining room. Somehow the chandelier had fallen onto the crystal candlesticks on her dining room table. She cried because she felt a great loss…not for the beautiful glass, but for her daughter-in-law and her son. To her it represented how the family felt during this holiday season. How ironic that it should end with a teardrop of broken glass. She knew what was coming; we had all been told. But little did she know that it was at that very moment that her son, my husband, was holding me while we lost our child.
We did not hear glass break, only our hearts. But that year, our 5th anniversary, when I pulled out the ONE champagne glass, I thought of my husband. He held me during those weeks for some very low points, he took care of the house and his wife as if it were his only job in the world. He brought me flowers, a bear to hold, movies to distract, and home-cooked meals. He slept on the floor beside me when I fell asleep crying on the couch. That year, when we renewed our tearful vows alone in front of Fall Creek Falls, he gave me a new diamond ring for my hand. If you look at it, you will see a cord of three strands. A wise man once said that a cord of three strands is not easily broken.
I decided to stop looking for a way to repair that champagne glass. I would rather share the cup with my husband…..the cup of joy and the cup of sorrow. I may never fix that glass. I may even put it somewhere on our wall to remind us that when things break, we must share. It is the only way our hearts will ever mend. It is said that God’s strength is perfect when our strength is gone. My strength came from my husband and the miracle of life and love. I can’t understand why this happens to people, but I do have an element of trust when they do. I told myself that year that I had to trust God to fix broken things, but also to let them break so that we will cling to one another.
My parents cut their Texas trip short that year to be here for Christmas and to hold their daughter. It was a tough winter for this family. But we shared in the cup of suffering together, and for that, I am thankful.
My parents gave me a treasure chest for my fortieth birthday. Truly a treasure chest. Inside a beautiful antique trunk from New Zealand were packets and containers of keepsakes and memories, personal heirlooms and delicate reminiscences of the last forty years. The first packet I opened contained something that took my breath away; I could barely concentrate as we opened the rest of the treasures and I held this ‘sacrament’ in my fist . . .
When my parents were in New Zealand, I was their only successful pregnancy though they really wanted a second child. So they started an adoption. I remember going to the hospital to see the baby and how excited my mother was; I even got to help name him. But then, as is quite obvious, it didn't work out. It wasn't because the birth mother backed out, and it wasn't because the adoption agency changed plans, as both are so common. It was because when my dad came back to the states on furlough, our supporting church told him they thought he was doing a great work, but that they were going to pull their support because they needed the money to go toward a bigger building facility. So dad had to come home to NZ and tell us that not only were we moving back to the states three years before we planned – but that we were going to have to let another family take that child. They never tried again in any way to have a second child. And I believe they still grieve it. I guess I do too. I have always prayed that he grew up with a big sister as good as I would have been to him and parents as wonderful as mine.
Thirty-five years later, my mother gave me the rattle I had bought for the little guy. I had saved my pennies for it, so she tucked it away and returned it to me when I turned forty, a jewel out of a treasure chest, a sacrament of sorts. I put it in my car so I could see it often and remember.
Now, I know a lot about why I do things and why I choose the friends I do or make some choices I make. One thing of which I have been aware for years is that I have always had a little brother in my life. And I’ve always been closer to that person than the girlfriends I had at the time. I believe I have that subconscious desire to seek that out in my life and fill a void, and somehow, even when I don’t realize it, it always happens.
I am also very thankful that a fine little brother, for sure, just happened to be in the car with me a few days ago when I yanked the emergency break down and it came down right on top of that precious rattle, breaking it in half. I am glad that he is familiar with the history of that sacrament, understands the significance, knows and is proud of his position in my life, and was unsurprised and sensitive when I finally burst into tears. The implication of a little sacrament breaking in two was not at all lost on him, especially considering we’d recently shared in some brokenness ourselves. So a bit later when we were both leaving, he said something profoundly simple and not at all meant insensitively.
“Things break, Anj.”
In my religious background where sacraments are physical things that help me remember when God is uniquely active, it kinda sucked to hear.
Peace and passion. An extremely enviable combination – and a state of being that many people hunt, but not many are able to effectively realize.
A few years ago, when I wrote the Broken Glass section of this piece, I said that I wanted to trust God to fix broken things. That was apparently a pre-fabrication. No, it wasn’t even the truth. I just hoped that things would be fixed without my effort and that time would heal all wounds.
But time doesn’t really heal wounds; I don’t believe that anymore. Time just crafts the lesions into scars that are still visible and reminiscent of a tragedy. I’m not even being pessimistic; that is just how it is. “Things break,” is just about the equivalent of, “Shit happens.” But it doesn’t mean, “Suck it up, move on, and forget it.” It is just stating a fact. THINGS DO BREAK. And ironically I am notorious for not fixing physical things when they break (my hookah vase, my grandmother’s china, a teapot, a cat bowl…), and not even going through the effort of locating the super glue, because I just assume they will never really be the same again. And we all know I’m not really talking about teapots and china….or champagne glasses and baby rattles.
Twice when I’ve been deeply hurt and angry, my friend Tiff has brought over a box of plates and a mallet or two. The first time our impassioned hammering turned into a beautiful mosaic which lines my kitchen counter and out of which I get numerous ooohs and aaahs from visitors. Now, while it may sound cliché to say that broken things can be turned into something beautiful, I will also admit that I wasn’t saying it to myself enough. I’ve been too consumed with the broken and more and more doubtful of the mosaic with each passing crash. It was also as if I was handing my pieces to someone – anyone - else and saying, “Here; this broke. Fix it for me,” all the while doubting anyone would want to or even care -- but I sure wasn’t taking responsibility for it because it wasn’t my fault it all broke in the first place, right? That’s not sharing in a cup of suffering; it’s passing it off! And all this time I was putting my self-validation in whether or not people trusted me, yet I trusted myself less, trusted others less, and trusted God less. Frankly, the irony is staggering.
I can’t fix everything and things do break. What has been completely over my head is the possibility that God isn’t necessarily sitting there waiting to help me pick up the pieces anyway; it has occurred to me that it may just be some semblance of a greater cosmic voice blowing things apart so that I might take a closer look at myself and make some kind of an effort to locate the effing super glue.
The tat on my left ankle is the Chinese symbol for passion; it is a symbol for me of my desire to have a loving, blissful existence with the world around me - but just as imperative, and sadly at forty, I have barely begun to understand how to achieve peace and acceptance within myself. I think it is time to get a "peace" tat on the other side ... a symbol of that desired balance and the quest to open myself up to new levels of passion and spiritual peace that will cause a spark of positive power over my little world and will embrace a fresh and healthy approach to broken things.
We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!
OKSubscriptions powered by Strikingly