Fixing What is Broken (or Not)

A good friend gave me this writer’s box as a gift and I look at it every day. I think about what it says on the front, “The writer must write what he has to say, not speak it.”

I like this…because I often struggle against “reacting” with my words rather than “acting” with them. The truth is, my words have gotten me into trouble more times than I care to count.

I find myself facing a difficult situation, a broken one, and I tend to react first emotionally and then rationally. When that happens, the road to restoration is longer, harder, and more painful than if I’d stepped back for a bit.

Which brings up the whole issue of broken versus whole. Weak versus strong. Dependent versus independent. All good old American principles for making it in this world, right?

Not really.

Throughout history we can trace back individuals whose brokenness gave way to a better life, a better message, a better person.

A couple of examples from real life…

English composer Sir Edward Elgar once listened to young girl singing a solo from one of his own works. She had a voice of exceptional purity and clarity and range, and an almost perfect technique. When she finished, Sir Edward said softly, “She will be really great when something happens to break her heart.”

J.M. Barrie (author of Peter Pan) tells how his mother lost her favorite son, and then says, “That is where my mother got her soft eyes, and that is why other mothers ran to her when they had lost a child.” Suffering had done something for her that an easy way could never have done.

William Barclay

It is telling that people from diverse walks of life can agree that even the most gifted among us gain more after they’ve endured some personal hardship. I wish it weren’t so…but brokenness is just part of life (everyone’s life.)

Author and speaker, Sheila Walsh, says it well as she helps people view brokenness from a very different perspective.

Broken people often think “the end” has come for them. The end of joy. The end of significance. The end of hope. They seldom realize that, from God’s point of view, brokenness actually leads to a different “end” altogether: the death of self-centeredness, pride, and unconcern.

And we all know that oftentimes, the most painful “endings” usher in “beautiful” beginnings.


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