Brokenness: An Amazing Gift
I know that the idea of being broken sounds like a tragic thing, especially if it is a bone or cell phone. However, I am here to say that brokenness is one of the best things that could happen to a human being. Rumi once said that “You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.” We humans are a complicated bunch and pride is the very thing that keeps us from being broken. Nowadays, image is such an important thing for people to keep up. Sadly, this way of thinking is distorted and destructive. If you look at the tiny writing on the side view mirror of your Toyota, it says “images in the mirror may be closer than they appear.” Image is regularly distorted and often found to be false.
I think of those who have to have the new Jordan’s, fitted baseball hat, or Michael Kors purse just to keep up with their peers. Oftentimes, they get up and go to a job that is suffocating them, a spouse who is addicted to sleeping medicine, and child who is cutting his wrists with an Exacto knife because the kids at school are picking on his speech impediment. Why do we go to such lengths to put on the airs and secretly cry ourselves to sleep? The false sense of security we have placed in our belongings or social status has lulled us into a trance which will kills us over time. It manifests in heart attacks, cancer, addiction, and suicide.
I spent years chasing that elusive thing called peace with anything that would seemingly offer it. Jumping from bed to bed, job to job, or car to car. The list goes on forever. However, I learned that peace came from within when I came to the point of my own brokenness. I had to come to the point of falling to my knees and asking for help. Once that pride falls away and we humbly admit that our soul is being quenched by the cold water of shame, guilt, and disappointment, we can finally find peace. It works from the inside out. This is the opposite of what modern day technology, social media, and TMZ says. We live in a world where there are more “things” than ever, yet our connection to each other has never been more torn. I was watching a documentary on Netflix recently and they showed the poor, homeless people in India seemed to have pure joy covering their faces, yet the rich and wealthy had scowls that reminded me of American Gothic. The poor people realized that having nothing and being exposed for who they were gave them freedom and peace. When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose. In contrast, having everything places you in a position to lose all that you have.
Now I am not saying having money or things is bad, but placing your identity in these things can be deadly. It was only when I lost the status, career, home, and family that I was gifted with brokenness. I gave these things away in my quest for something that was inside me all along. It was the act of embracing who I was, what I had done, and where I ended up that brought my true purpose. Our strengths can often divide us. Take a pro sports person who is the top of their sport with millions of dollars and much influence. Many folks can be tricked into believing he is different than they are. Seeing the shock and awe come across the people when that same man commits a crime or winds up in rehab saddens me. At our core, minus whatever window dressing that adorns us, we are the same. We feel the same joy and hurt, prosperity and tragedy. If I had to be broken of myself and my ways to find peace and become able to connect, wouldn’t anyone else?
Our pride and ego keeps us isolated, even though we are all on this giant ball hovering in space together. It is in our the sharing of our deepest pains, struggles, and weaknesses that we can find true compassion and love for each other. I can’t tell you how world peace will be achieved, but unbrokenness and division surely hasn’t worked. I submit to you the idea of becoming vulnerable and transparent about your struggles instead of fear of judgement is a pathway to peace and change. Holding it in, covering it with a new car, or numbing it with Painkillers and booze only makes the dark hole darker and deeper. Take off your mask and get real with each other. I promise you will be surprised how the heavy grand piano of hurt you carry on your shoulders will come crashing down. You will become lighter and sleep sounder. Your problems may still be there in the morning, but you will be rescued off of Gilligan’s Island and journeying to the mainland.