I was reading a blog last week when a bit of an epiphany struck. I’m still working through it, but I thought I’d share the beginnings of it with you, nonetheless.
On Fancy Pantalons, Elyssa Tardif was reflecting on her recent retreat with Geneen Roth, author of Women, Food, and God.
She wrote that Roth had said at the beginning, “I’m not going to fix you.”
And then proceeded to reflect,
“Which meant, of course, that she wasn’t going to fix me, either. So I accepted rather begrudgingly the reality that I would have to put forth some effort on my own behalf. For two days, I proceeded to treat myself to Geneen’s wisdom, again and again (what else would you expect from a re-treat?), and Sunday afternoon, I emerged on the other side. Not fixed. But not broken.”
And there, with those final two sentiments: Not fixed. But not broken, something hit me. A friend and I often reflect on how all of us have brokenness. I even wrote a graduate school essay called “Blessing the Brokenness.” The title, my grad school advisor wrote, is so cliche. So, indeed, we’ve all been broken in some way. But as I read Elyssa’s blog post, it occurred to me that maybe that is the very point of life. That we aren’t supposed to go through life unbroken, without challenge and sacrifice. That maybe the whole point of life is exactly the brokenness, because that is the way our lessons are packaged and those lessons are the ladder rungs we climb to the next aspect of our journey.
After finishing the post, I wrote this as part of a comment on Elyssa’s blog:
Maybe what we can most wish for in life is to be both not fixed, but not broken. If we’re fixed, perhaps we quit living. If we’re broken, perhaps the same. Maybe it is in the between that we do our very best for ourselves and others.
And I have been thinking about that ever since. How we wish so much to arrive at perfect, to arrive at total, complete satisfaction with everything- our selves, our home, our relationships, our work, our mission, our family, etc, but maybe, when we do that– wish for the arrival to the perfection of our imagining- what we are doing is losing sight on the journey that we are supposed to be on. We don’t want to be so broken that we can’t thrive and grow but, perhaps, we don’t want to be so fixed that we quit aspiring that, instead, we just exist, an inhale and exhale without any fire in the belly. I think maybe we are at our best- for ourselves and others- when we are in the in-between because that means we are at our most earnest, at our most willing, at our most engaged.
Not fixed. But not broken. That sounds just about right somehow.
What do you think?