Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Beautiful Brokenness

I went for a walk with my friend Joshua the other day. We meandered through snow covered roads, cold wind on our faces and quiet invading our hearts.
I talked and he was an audience of one as I shared my fragmented thoughts on the brokenness of our lives, and God's place in the midst of it.
I felt tears well at the thought of my struggling son*, a grief so consuming that my body felt heavy and broken inside, then I returned to the present and the sting of the cold whipped the wet away as I blinked back the tide.

Josh was quiet beside me, walking steadily, unencumbered by the weightiness of my thoughts and I became thankful for our time together.

I have been reading a book my husband brought home called "In the Name of Jesus" by Henri Nouwen.
In the introduction he described his move from the intellectual world of Harvard to the community of L'Arche, a home for mentally challenged people, and the change wrought in his heart and mind as he became priest to the broken instead of ministering to academia.
He described his busy life and how he was confronted with the question of whether being older, was bringing him closer to Jesus and he realized that his life was becoming emptier, not more full of Christ.
He then said, "...I woke up one day with the realization that I was living in a very dark place and that the term 'burnout' was a convenient psychological translation for a spiritual death."

So he asked God to direct him very specifically where to go and God answered in the person of Jean Vanier, founder of L'Arche communities. God said "Go and live among the poor in spirit, and they will heal you."
He then said "I moved from Harvard to L'Arche, from the best and brightest, wanting to rule the world, to men and women who had few or no words and were considered, at best, marginal to the needs of our society."

I wept at these words, for they are so true.
When Belinda received my application to return to Christian Horizons after many years away raising my children to school age, she cheered and said "Welcome back to the service of the King!"
Sadly, I was reticent to rejoice, being bogged down in my own struggles and lingering in that place of burnout, not feeling that spending time with broken people would replenish me, but further drain what I didn't already have. Yet I needed to work.

But God is so good. He denied my applications to other places of employ and situated me where I wasn't enthusiastic to go...until this weekend. I am beginning to understand, in a new way, His purposes, His unusual ways and the beauty in the brokenness of humanity.
I have begun to savor the sweetness in the smile of someone who doesn't know my name, but comes to grasp my hand and tell me things about themselves. I saw these people at some training last week, and love broke through.
Now I am rejoicing too and know that I am back in the service of the King!

*I have written about the struggle my son Nicky is having with seizures. Of late, they are worse than ever, sometimes all night long. We are working with a neurologist and medications to try and stabilize him. We are trusting the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as we face this giant in our lives. Please rejoice with us as we praise God, in advance, for his healing.

9 comments:

Susan said...

Ah, Ang, I know whereof you speak. I sit at my desk here at nearly one in the morning - in the service of the King - making a difference in the lives, I hope, of people who have made a completely unexpected and astounding difference in mine. I couldn't feel more blessed anywhere else on earth than here in the service of the King (except for when I am home and in the service of the King there bytimes too!)

Welcome back. And after your walk with Josh - welcome back home, too. (And God bless Nicky and you... Ever praying! Susan.)

Meg said...

Thanks Ang, for your beautiful words. I so understand.

Marilyn said...

Love this "But God is so good. He denied my applications to other places of employ and situated me where I wasn't enthusiastic..."!

How often I reflect BACK, after something has passed, and savor this truth. Now, if only I could package it up and enjoy His goodness to me in this way in the MIDST of a situation! Hahaha. I guess that's where the FAITH part comes in.

How great it is to be able to say - not in denial of a circumstance, but in full acknowledgement of it - "Yes, it's tough and I don't know how everything will turn out, but I know God knows what He is doing with me!"

I am less-than-enthusiastic about something right now. Possibly even angry. Okay, angry! BUT it makes a difference to be a person of faith, which doesn't require saying to the world, "la-dee-la, everything is marvelous" but "You know what? There are trials....but God knows what He is doing with me, and I'll press on with my part."

Another ramble from south of the border....I really enjoy what "Whatever He Says" offers, even if I don't always get around to saying so. Keep writing!

Belinda said...

Thanks Ang, for your wonderful post that speaks so to me, too. And Marilyn for your encouragement to us to keep writing. We will! As long as God gives us words to write!

And Susan, crazy lady, at your post, so late at night; I'm so glad you're part of all of this.

Love, today!

Susan said...

"Crazy lady"????

Why, thank you!!!

Joyful Fox said...

Angcat,

Beautiful words. I constantly see Jesus growing in you. In your writing too, there is beauty in brokenness. I see much beauty in the line "...then I returned to the present and the sting of the cold whipped the wet as I blinked back the tide." What richness in those words, Angcat.

Angcat, Out of this time that is so difficult in so many ways, when grief is raw and your lament is full comes incredible beauty that God is using for His glory. I know your writing will be the wheat that does not get burned. Don't stop writing and sharing and it will be glorious to see where God takes this gift He's given you and you have been diligent to cultivate.

In His time, we shall see what He will do. Keep praying, trusting, and waiting on Him my dear friend. I am honoured to call you that.

Love and joy,
Ellen

Night Owl said...
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Night Owl said...
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Night Owl said...

Dear Angcat,
You have beautiful writing.
I'm so sorry about Nicky. I'm praying for your family to get through this and for Nicky to get well.
I agree that working with people with disabilities is challenging, but usually rewarding. I'm afraid my sister isn't the same at all. She's just difficult and draining. She's definitely draining the life out of me.
Brokenness can be beautiful, I think, if it's not considered to be "broken" or told to be "fixed" constantly. Then the brokenness is just frustrated, and not safe to be around.
Everyone's a bit broken anyway...
:(
Love
By the way, I'd consider being called "crazy lady" a compliment. :) As long as it's Belinda saying it, at least...