What does that mean to you?
Hello Friends, I’m writing today about a subject that looks different for each and every one of us. Broken, by definition (Oxford online dictionary) means: 1.) having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order. 2.) (of a person) having given up all hope; despairing. I have been, and am, both. The second description is less of who I am than the first, though it wasn’t all that long ago in the reverse. I am no longer despairing. I haven’t given up. I’ve accepted. In that acceptance I’ve found that I have hope, though at times the hope is fleeting. Fleeting is better than non-existent.
Broken isn’t always bad. Sometimes we need breaking. An addict that wants to become and stay sober has to break their habit of drug use, drinking, anger, etc… As humans, sometimes we have to break cycles of addiction, abuse and neglect. More often than not, we become chain breakers of repeated circumstances. Of chains cast upon us by generations past. Being broken can open doors to the healing that we all crave. And need.
Broken people hurt people, and the cycle of brokenness is perpetuated. As you know, if you’ve read my blog for any length of time, I started writing because my husband and I were estranged from our oldest daughter. She accused us (mostly me) of heinous things, and the power in those statements damn near ruined us. Damn near. What has happened since the estrangement began is beautiful, yet sad. As time marched across the vast emptiness of shattered and broken hearts, we were growing without realizing it. We spent the first year trying to find a way to make sense of a non-sensical situation. A letter came. Another boulder to break the miniscule, and I do mean miniscule, healing that had begun to sprout through the cracks in our hearts. The letter became a tool in the healing process, not a detriment. We knew the day that courier showed up at our door that we could remain broken and struggling, or that we could accept and move forward. Without her. We chose the latter. Accepting that you’ve been thrown away like nothing more than a gum wrapper is beyond difficult to process, not impossible. Seven months after the letter arrived, my husband suffered a catastrophic stroke that would ultimately end his life. More breaking…
Breaking someone’s spirit because you can doesn’t make it right. I’ve done this very thing and am grateful that I, too, was broken because of my actions. I’m thankful that I didn’t have to be as right as I thought I did. Being right, or winning, isn’t winning anything if the victory is hollow. I’d rather lose a fight to hold onto peace and experience healing than to win an empty cup. Sometimes acceptance becomes our trophy, we just have to be willing to be open to what the lack of fighting may bring.
Being broken sucks. Plain and simple. If you’re shattered and experiencing so much pain that you can barely see, breathe. Just breathe. Sometimes being able to breathe is all we get when the white hot pain of brokenness rains down on us like a violent storm. Don’t bother with the umbrella, the winds of pain and heartache will continue to rip it out of your hands. Stand as strong and as fast as you can manage to against the tempest. Lean in. Breathe. I promise there will come a day when sunlight breaks through the proverbial darkness. You probably won’t recognize the light at first, I didn’t. As you put one foot in front of the other, your path becomes more well lit. Someday, you’ll look behind yourself and realize you’ve made progress towards that sliver of sunlight.
It’s been almost a year since my beloved died from that afformentioned stroke, and my heart is healing, yet stays broken as well. I’ve made many changes in my own life over the past year, and I’m proud of myself (mostly) for the way I’ve learned to accept what is, and isn’t, part of my life. I’ve moved. I start college (after a 40 year break) next month for my English degree. I’ve attended conferences that offer peer support to America’s families of its fallen heros. I’ve found a church that I like and I’ve met some wonderful people there. I also feel regret. I’ve lost people over the past year because I’m healing in a way they don’t understand. Part of the journey to heal our brokenness brings more brokenness, how could it not? It’s okay. I’ve adopted a new fur baby that makes me laugh out loud with her silly antics. I spend time with my youngest daughter, her husband and their terrific kids. I pray, without ceasing, for myself and others around the world. Music is never not on in my apartment. Music is like breathing for me, I can’t live without it. I’m learning that there is so much beauty in my brokenness that I can’t contain it all and I feel compelled to share it with all of you.
Being broken is hard, that’s for sure. What we choose to do with our brokenness is individual to each of us. For me, the hardest part of being broken is finding a way to accept myself when I make a poor decision. I’m human, I hurt, and the self-recrimination I place on myself after a poor decision can last for many, many days. Even many months. It’s when I get to a place where I can look back behind myself, that I see the healing that’s happened.
Go, be broken, and live. It is possible. Give yourself ALL the grace and mercy you deserve and forgive yourself. Forgive others. Life is messy, and this broken woman in Southwestern Pennsylvania hopes that you can see the beauty in the mess…