Saturday , July 05, 2014 - 12:00 AM
What does the word “broken” mean? Hurt? Damaged? Fractured?
Perhaps more significantly, what does the word “broken” imply? Repairable?
If what is broken were not repairable, would we not say “ruined” instead of “broken”? If the broken item were of no value, would we not refer to it as “worthless” instead of “broken”?
In my house, broken things have value. We do broken.
Consider my dryer with a door that pops open. If we prop a filled clothes hamper or two against the door, it stays shut, the dryer keeps running, and the clothes get dry.
The door on the freezer also pops open. A simple bungee cord, hooked to a door frame and to the freezer door handle, ensures that the freezer door stays shut.
We also find use from our shower as we constantly address stripped threading on the knobs with pliers and from our crock pot and rice cooker, each with missing legs, that have to be creatively propped.
Upon returning home from a field trip to Yellowstone, I found myself in possession of a perfectly good rainfly left behind.
The thing about a rainfly is that without a tent, it could be considered worthless. I tried but I could not bring myself to throw it away. Then when I discovered holes in the roof of my canvas shed, the rainfly came in handy in protecting the hay inside from rain.
Our dear van is broken in too many places to list.
The automatic side doors open only manually. The back bumper is on the cusp of coming off, and something under the car near the front tire is attached with baling twine. We drive with the check engine light constantly on.
We don’t believe our interventions have kept the van useful. Some things are just miracles.
I had a delightful, soul-sharing, thought-provoking chat with a cherished friend recently on the concept of brokenness.
She views herself as broken. She said she comes from a broken family. She was abused by a person who was broken.
She is dealing now with extended family members on both sides who are broken and their broken pieces are cutting her. All of them are broken, but not useless.
Miraculously, she recognizes their worth through their brokenness. Her profound statement catalyzed this article: “In a way, we are all broken, aren’t we?”
Yes. In a way, we are all broken. All of us. We are broken in various ways and in varying degrees.
We are broken by our own sins, broken by the sins of others, broken by health problems, broken by disappointments and despair.
But we are all repairable and we are all valuable. All of us.
Sometimes our value is manifest through help from others, like the clothes hampers and bungee cord in my house.
Sometimes our value is manifest as we find a meaningful purpose. Remember my rainfly.
And sometimes our value is manifest miraculously, such as with my van.
But always, ALWAYS we have value.
Through the power of Christ’s infinite atonement and the grace of His redeeming love, we are repaired. His blood paid the price for our repair. His profound empathy comforts our souls and His love heals the wounds brokenness brings.
Our status as children of God gives us value. As His children, we have a divine heritage and eternal worth that transcends brokenness. Gold is precious no matter what its form or level of fragmentation. As His instruments on Earth, we are valuable as we help others realize their worth, find their purpose, and recognize their miracles.
In God’s house, broken things have value. He does broken.
Teresa Noel Hislop says she is an open-minded conservative and claims that’s not an oxymoron. She said she’s also a fiercely dedicated mother, a wholehearted science teacher and a lover of fresh blueberries and buttered popcorn. She is a member of the Standard-Examiner editorial board.
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