I am blessed in my friends.
I don’t mean Facebook “friends.” I mean real people with whom I frequently spend time talking, working, laughing and crying. These people honor my life with their presence. They inspire me.
One of my friends responded to last week’s post with depth and wisdom, opening me still further to the value and beauty of brokenness. Here is her comment, lightly edited:
I too felt broken, but stronger for it. Because of your “broken pieces” I’m stronger throughout. And as I piece back together into something different, I too take my “broken pieces” and try to help others as you did me. So maybe all our little broken pieces don’t fit together anymore, but we can give those pieces to the next person and it helps start a foundation to put them back together in their new beautiful masterpiece.
What my friend is describing here is the heart of any community: contribution. If we decide to value our brokenness as well as our wholeness, we can offer ourselves without reservation to others. We can contribute everything we are without shame.
We can be authentic.
In my own life, I’ve found more healing and support in the broken pieces others offer me than the shiny new ones. I’m chipped and frayed myself in so many ways, it’s hard to connect with someone who maintains a perfect façade and admits to no flaw, mistake or weakness.
We all know people who hoard every bit of their damage jealously in order to use it as justification for destructive choices and behavior. We also see people taking terrible experiences and making an offering of them to others through example, service or art.
Once again, it boils down to a chocolate-or-vanilla choice. We will certainly experience wear and tear in our lives. What will we do with the fragments? In that respect we have complete power.
The idea of offering our shreds and scraps to one another delights me. Not only am I inspired to greater creative and spiritual possibilities for my own reshaping with broken pieces from others, I can offer remnants that no longer serve me to my community. We can all build and repair foundations together, creating a network of grace, wisdom, and strength.
Perhaps we each have a broken piece someone is looking for, and some stranger we have yet to meet has a piece we need.
Last week’s post was one of my broken pieces, offered with a slight shudder, as always. I still, after more than 200 posts, have a hard time pushing the “publish” button. There’s still a small voice in my head that tells me I’m worthless, I have nothing to offer, and everything I think, feel, say, do and write is wildly inappropriate, inadequate, or (worst of all) is displeasing someone I love.
I do it anyway, because writing is what I do.
But when someone steps forward and fits one of their jagged, ragged, splintered edges against one of mine, I’m touched to the heart and my faith in myself and the enduring power of the human spirit is renewed.
Broken? Not at all. Repaired.
My daily crime.