We are broken. It’s a fact. Each one of us. And our brokenness takes many forms, from grieving and betrayal, from health issues to hurting someone else, from anger to loss, shame, guilt and isolation.
We don’t like being broken… we don’t like how it feels, we don’t like to talk about it or admit it, and we love to pretend it isn’t so. In fact, many of us are so good at putting on a happy face that others would never know just how broken we really are.
Broken… there is a judgment to the word broken, especially when we apply it to our own lives. It suggests there is something wrong with us, that we are no longer in once piece. We are no longer whole. We are cracked, we have scars (if not open wounds).
We can approach our brokenness in one of two ways, either negatively or from the viewpoint of the Beloved. When we look at our brokenness negatively, we almost take on a victim mentality. We feel that we’ve failed, we weren’t good enough, maybe we believe that God is punishing us, or that God couldn’t possibly love us because we are too broken. Perhaps we even believe that whatever has happened just proves what a miserable person we are. We all know people who live in this mind frame and never get better. I know that many, or all, of these thoughts may go through our heads when we are suffering, but it is best to let these thoughts go and try to see your situation from a different perspective.
When we understand ourselves as the Beloved of God we are able to look at our brokenness in a completely different way, a way that sheds light, hope and kindness upon us. We can say to ourselves, “Yes, I am broken, but I am still the Beloved of God and my life is still a blessing, even though I may not feel like it at this moment. God has not done this to me, this is part of the journey of life (albeit not a fun part). And because I know I am Beloved and Blessed, I can trust that the Infinite Love Energy of the Universe will help me to heal and, even more important, to grow from this experience.
Our brokenness, when placed under the care of our Blessedness and Belovedness has the potential to change us into more loving, compassionate, caring, kind people. But before we can do this, theologian and priest, Henri Nouwen, in Life of the Beloved, says we need to befriend our brokenness. Accept it. Name it, claim it and work through it. Don’t hide it, deny it or bury it. The first step toward healing the pain is to walk through it, not away from it.
“The life of the Beloved means that everything we live, be it gladness or sadness, joy or pain, health or illness, can all be a part of the journey toward the full realization of our humanity.” (Nouwen, Life of the Beloved, 77)