Tuesday — This week we will embrace the invitation of Easter.
The invitation to befriend our brokenness.
The invitation to be on the lookout for beauty and wonder; the sacred in the ordinary.
The invitation to know… “In the end, everything will be (all right). If it’s not (all right), it’s not the end.”
This from Katie Jensen… “Yes, the healing of what is broken takes time, energy, and choice. But I believe it is happening. During the 50 days of Eastertide, that is what we are invited to notice around us—what is being brought to life? What is being resurrected? And what do we see of brokenness that needs the life-giving touch of God?
One of my friends calls it ‘The Land of Always Will Be.’ This resurrection life—this transformation into wholeness and healing for the whole world—this is what we are created for and invited into. Christ is the first fruits—or, in Eugene Peterson’s words, Jesus is leading ‘the Resurrection Parade!’
Together we will enter into and create this ‘Land of Always Will Be.’ Brokenness is never the end of the story.”
And this poem from Jeanne Lohmann, shored up my spirit and did my heart good…
Praise What Comes
Surprising as unplanned kisses, all you haven’t deserved
of days and solitude, your body’s immoderate good health
that lets you work in many kinds of weather. Praise
talk with just about anyone. And quiet intervals, books
that are your food and your hunger; nightfall and walks
before sleep. Praising these for practice, perhaps
you will come at last to praise grief and the wrongs
you never intended. At the end there may be no answers
and only a few very simple questions: did I love,
finish my task in the world? Learn at least one
of the many names of God? At the intersections,
the boundaries where one life began and another
ended, the jumping-off places between fear and
possibility, at the ragged edges of pain,
did I catch the smallest glimpse of the holy?
Yes. Brokenness is never the end of the story.
And for our assignment (invitation) this week… where did we catch the smallest glimpse of the holy?
When Lent is on the horizon, I’ve often jested that I’d love to give up my phone. Well, I know it’s past Lent, but yesterday it happened. Speaking of brokenness, my phone died, cause unknown. Today I spent the day looking for phone resurrection stores. No luck. It’ll be a week to “figure out” whether the phone is restorable, and a week to get a new phone. Meaning that this week, I’ll need to practice what I preach: I’ll give up my phone.
The bad news is that the number 206-200-0338, is the number for all Sabbath Moment business calls. So, if you tried to call our office, I do apologize. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday — We are, every single one of us, wounded. And that is a gift.
We are, every single one of us, broken. And that is a gift.
We are blessedly human, and no one of us is on this journey alone. That too, is a gift.
Yes, I know. It doesn’t always feel that way (especially when you keep checking the scorecard).
When I do look, I often don’t see any gift. Because I see brokenness and woundedness as impediments or disabilities, to be tidied up, overcome, or prayed away.
What I don’t see, is the invitation to befriend my brokenness.
The invitation to embrace beauty and wonder; the sacred in the ordinary.
The invitation of Easter.
And this is a good time to talk about Kintsugi.
Do you know it?
It’s an ancient Japanese method of repairing broken porcelain, using gold to fill the cracks. (Also known as Kintsukuori, which translates “golden joinery.”)
The Kintsugi artisan uses gold (or other precious metal) mixed with epoxy to repair the broken piece. Okay, this really does my heart good; the gold now emphasizes, rather than hides, the breakage. Yes, the gold honors the beauty of imperfection, and that beauty spills.
It’s Marcel Proust’s reminder, “My destination is no longer a place, rather a new way of seeing.” So, my value is not about where I should arrive (needing to pretend that the cracks do not exist or will be covered up), but honoring and living into the true value deep down.
We’re invited to a paradigm shift: Henri Nouwen’s guidance that we “embrace” our brokenness. The “precious scars” honoring my life. No surprise that I hear Leonard Cohen, “there is a crack in everything and that is how the light gets in.”
Now, at home in my own skin; that “safe space to regain my bearings, reclaim my soul, heal my wounds, and return to the world as a wounded healer,” Parker Palmer writes. “It’s not merely about finding shelter from the storm—it’s about spiritual survival and the capacity to carry on.”
Yes. There is power in our redemptive story.
I confess than I’ve spent the last three days reflexively patting my back pocket, wondering where my phone is. It’s a good thing that phones aren’t addictive. Just sayin’. After all, I might be missing something.
This morning, the young coyote is hanging around, and I smile as I reach for my phone to take a picture, realizing it is okay to just savor the moment without a souvenir.
Thursday — Seeing our brokenness as a gift. I confess that’s not always easy to register.
And yet, it is an affirmation of the Easter message: Brokenness is always an invitation to redemption and restoration and resurrection. In other words, brokenness never wins.
It’s not easy because we still carry two “conflicting” narratives. Our desire for tidiness (resolution), and our yearning to learn (to absorb and grow). Gratefully, that’s okay.
So. Pause. And let us remember: in those places where life feels unresolved (and yes, “broken”), wholeheartedness is still very alive and well.
I will admit that there is comfort donning my cape, morphing into Mr. Tidy OCD, an emotional life fix-it hero. And I know why. It distracts and protects me, because there’s a part of me that is afraid to pause, to befriend my scattered and wounded self. To let myself be loved for being this wonderfully messy imperfect me. Grace, it turns out, is WD40 for the soul.
I remember a Far Side cartoon. Two women inside their house. Outside the closed front door (we see through the window) a giant hideous insect. Says one, “Calm down Edna, yes it’s one giant hideous insect, but it could be one giant hideous insect in need of help.”
We don’t see the gift, because we’ve been marinated in a narrative of scarcity (“I am not enough”). It is no surprise that we ascribe beauty to only the uncluttered and success to only the strong or powerful.
When we pause, and hear the voice of grace (trusting our sufficiency), we are no longer afraid of the brokenness and woundedness (they are not a threat to wholeness). In embracing our wounds, they become (as Richard Rohr reminds us) sacred wounds, because grace is alive and well.
It’s paradigm shift time. Time to move from a project management view of life, to a wade-in view of life.
Life, in its brokenness, is not to be contained, explained or fixed. As if we recover, and move on to “real life,” you know, the non-messy parts.
When we need to move past the life we have now, we miss the glory, beauty and tender purity in the cacophony.
We miss the sacrament of the present moment.
We miss the invitation to befriend our brokenness, and embrace the beauty and wonder.
Knowing that even in the sorrow and the pain and the unknowing, there is a whiff of the holy.
The geese have begun their nesting here… and Papa is the bouncer. I keep my distance. And he seems grateful I don’t linger, what with no phone to take a photo.
We see what we want to see. And often, miss seeing our brokenness as a gift. Or a place where the sacred is alive and well.
And yet, it is an affirmation of the Easter message: Brokenness is always an invitation… to redemption and restoration and resurrection.
About that invitation, Henri Nouwen said, “The great mystery of God’s love is that we are not asked to live as if we are not hurting, as if we are not broken. In fact, we are invited to recognize our brokenness as a brokenness in which we can come in touch with the unique way that God loves us. The great invitation is to live your brokenness under the blessing. I cannot take people’s brokenness away and people cannot take my brokenness away. But how do you live in your brokenness? Do you live your brokenness under the blessing or under the curse?” (Lecture at Scarritt-Bennett Center)
Live under the blessing… yes.
Broken or no, God invites us to be our true selves—joyous, aware and living each moment with arms wide open, responding to the love of the Beloved, a reflection of the very love of God that is within us.
So, why do we choose to live guarded and afraid, our days filled with hurry and noise? Fear labels and dismisses and restricts.
The voice of grace tells us that we are more than our labels. We are more than our fear. And yes, we are more than our brokenness. Meaning arms wide open… as the Hopi say, “To watch us dance is to hear our heart speak.”
In grace, we literally wake up; we become alive in our own skin, and we see the sacred in the moments, and world around us.
“Forbid that I should walk through Thy beautiful world with unseeing eyes:
Forbid that the lure of the market-place
should ever entirely steal my heart away from the
love of open acres and the green trees:
Forbid that under the low roof of
workshop or office or study I should ever
forget Thy great overarching sky.”
As I write this, I look outside. The wind is howling and clouds careen through the sky. A Red Wing Blackbird is perched on a swaying cattail, untroubled and waiting, or maybe, in the wind’s music, enjoying the dance.
I’ll give L.R. Knost the last word, “Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.”
Here’s our Prayer Blessing…
For unending joy is it that God, our protector here,
Will be our bliss hereafter.
God is our way, our destination in true love
And surest trust.
So let us fly to the Lord,
so that we may be comforted;
touch him so that we might be cleansed;
Cling to him so that we might be safe from every danger…
Be the foundation of my being.
May I sit in you in true rest,
Stand in you in sure strength,
And be rooted in you in endless love.
Reveal yourself more to me
So that I may know my true nature better
And act as I truly am.
Julian of Norwich, 1342-after 1416