Sunday, October 01, 2006

Broken Glass

I hardly know where to begin this piece. I have been letting it toss and turn in my head only to find no time to put it on paper. To say that is frustrating is an understatement. Even though these late summer/ early fall months are my busiest of the year combining family and ministry, I have been making an effort to spend more time with my kids. The realization that I have to say “no” to more things that are ‘good’ in an effort to do only the ‘best,’ tugs at how I’m wired and what fuels me.

This seems broken to me and yet in the midst of it are my children who are such incredible gifts to me. I talked to my oldest at college tonight. He is soooo in his element. I find I want to giggle with glee. I have to fluff up the feathers in my nest (there’s a little empty spot), but that’s all part of the human journey. The little chick’s cracked open his egg, grew his wings and is starting to soar. Catch the Spirit bud! Fly high, fly strong…may your Lord and your heritage be the wind beneath your wings. Really it’s just the Lord because He gave us what your dad and I had to give you.

Speaking of your dad, I remember a Humpty Dumpty he made me out of an egg that he blew out. Very carefully he cleaned it and prepped it. He inserted little feet into the bottom and painted the rest with a green suit and Humpty Dumpty face. Somehow, one day, he accidentally got crushed. I was sick. I am so sentimental at heart. I put his pieces together in a little jewelry gift box. I took a picture of it, but I can’t remember if I threw it away. It seems to me it is in a craft box.

I’ve had different days this summer that I stumbled upon pieces of broken glass. In one place the pieces were beautiful, useful. In the other, sharp and dangerous, perhaps much like jaded people who sometimes populate these type areas. But, when I discovered those pieces, my mind began to wonder…how jaded am I in my own little world? What is the broken glass like in MY life?

So many more pieces…but I will wait for now. My mind is full and agitated…not so much in a bad way…perhaps wanting to ponder the pieces some more. Oh if I could tell you about the smooth pieces of broken glass in the gravel pathway I walked through in Half Moon Bay.

Part two:

I’ve reflected some more on the broken glass. It is an odd thing in this grief walk…there isn’t really a pattern to when a sad day will be or a happy day…or if there will be a few or many in a row. There is a turning point, though, different for everyone, when a sad day is enjoying the happy memory, not dwelling on the thing that will be missed. I don’t even know when it happened, really, it just showed up. Broken glass is like that some times. You find a piece and you wonder from where it came. You change your mind on a parking place because you see a shattered bottle. Broken bottles, broken people…grieving people…we can be a scary lot.

Broken glass. I just can’t put the pieces back together. “All the kings horses, and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again.” I can’t put the pieces of my life back together. There’s a relationship missing. Relationships make our lives different, especially married ones. They ooze and infuse and integrate into all that we are/do. Even if we do different events, we still meld our time schedules. I don’t say this to say losing a spouse is harder than other losses. More and more I see the power in the uniqueness of every loss. As much as we don’t want to choose losing someone, if we embrace it, we can learn from the loss. I don’t mean this in a way like we did something wrong, but learning…maturity perhaps?...the value of people, of relationships? There’s more to reflect on here, but I’m going to go a different direction.

Pieces of glass. Pieces of our lives. My friend was reflecting on Part 1 of this blog and talked about the pieces of our lives and how we could put the pieces together, each representing a part of our life. But, she said, our creative Master does not let us do that. HE puts it together. I thought about that. The heat of life melts the pieces together to be one beautiful vase...a vessel for a certain use. Our lives are full of so many colors of glass…pieces large and small. When the Spirit of the Lord is within us, every color and every size of glass creates a unique reflection outside.

While ‘broken’ is how I feel sometimes, I realize that God is mending my hurt and there are new things He is bringing into my life. Just as we grow and change in our marriages, we also grow as we discover who this new person is after a loss. I cannot recreate what was. The amazing thing is that if God knew me when I was in my mother’s womb, then He knew I would be where I am today. In His larger plan for me for this season…there’s new glass. It’s different than how my plans progressed through the years, different than my dreams. But, because I have seen the bigness of God, how He has walked me through 500 days…I can do nothing less than trust that He will continue to be true to His Word, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in (me) will perfect it until the day of Christ.” Philippians 1:6. The ‘good work’ is work He had planned for me “beforehand.” In the Bible, Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

The construct for this time in my life has changed. I can’t say I like it. The boots are still stiff. It looks different…I know it looks different to you, too. The colors reflect differently on the wall. I can’t help but hear these verses that come to my heart right now, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face, now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.” I Corinthians 13:12. I do not have all the answers—they are dimmed to me, but I do know one day…I will see my Creator face to face. The writer of First Corinthians continues, “But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Chapter 13, verse 13. Chapter 13, better know as the “love chapter.” Hmmmm….isn’t that what Jesus was all about? Isn’t He really the ‘piece’ we need to get right?

The path on which I walked at Half Moon Bay was a combination of smooth rocks and tumbled glass. It was like walking in a heavenly world. (Funny, it was in an antique store/junk yard!) I can’t imagine all the tumbling those pieces of glass had to go through to turn into smooth, clear stones. One day we will walk on streets of gold, pure gold, like transparent glass. In the meantime, we can watch in amazement as God puts the broken pieces of our lives back together to be a useable vessel for Him…to reflect His glory. May our real 'brokenness' be that we choose to surrender to Him.

Annie B

p.s. I found Humpty Dumpty