Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Glue of God

Listen to this post:

I have a broken body though you can't see it. I hide it pretty well. Unfortunately, years of chronic pain have twisted my mind toward the negative. I am working on reversing that trend and I see rays of hope.  This invisible cloak, however, isn't always so easy to wear. Take, for example, the time I was desperate and visited a new physician begging for help. "Well, you don't look sick," he said. I told him looks could be deceiving.

But then, last week, I witnessed my predicament in reverse. Overtly wounded veterans looking tall as they strode in – braces, canes and prosthetics in place – on Segways in a ceremony giving them the gift of mobility in return for their courage and loss. It all transpired at the Alamo.

It broke my heart. Broke. 

At the conclusion, we were invited to meet these veterans of Afghanistan. Staring into their young faces startled me. My instinct was to grab their hands and hold on for dear life, theirs and mine. I detected anguish and uncertainty in those brave eyes. I think they were soldier expressions for the most part. And not used to being looked at so directly since the loss of wholeness. But the touch, that was revealing. Some was tentative, but some was fierce, accompanied by a constant round of thank you Mams after I thanked them. I felt they were reaching for connection in this new state. Perhaps thanking me for noticing they were still human, if bionicly so. No complaints, no whining, simply a demeanor of acceptance and a preparedness for what comes next.

What a lesson for me! I have never experienced being seen as unwhole in the way I suspect these injured soldiers have.

Stilled awed, I stumbled away, caught off guard by a city ambassador with whom I struck up a conversation. I related what I had just witnessed at the Alamo. He was riveted and mentioned a fellow guide was struggling from the ravages of war silently, mentally and alone. He was angry at how this invisible wound is not recognized. We talked a bit more and he said a WWII veteran told him once, "There are no atheists in the fox holes."

I believe that means we're not alone, ever ... in the good stuff or the bad. It's mostly that we don't notice during the hopeful times.

All of this brokeness can be overwhelming until I am reminded of healing and that mending often makes the wound stronger. Knitting together injured parts creates a new bond, one that had not previously existed and one tougher than the original. It's that liminal place where two or three come together to create a newness. The wounded, Spirit and healing.

Our brokenness makes us stronger, if only we could recognize and acknowledge that in each other, then thank God.

• In what ways have I been broken?
• How have I experienced that in others?
• How do I respond to brokenness?
• What has it taught me?
• Where do I see God in the brokenness?

each time a ceramic
broke, I'd collect the debris,
saving it for some
colorful, new creation

something old and broken
made new in a

the adhesive holding
the smaller pieces,
binding them
ever more tightly

the glue
of God can
do similarly
in our minds,
spirits and

if we
open ourselves

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