by LA Jamison
There is really no need to say much more. Broken is a strong word all by itself. A strong experience. To be broken in spirit is not the ideal dream for many. People who are not necessarily religious can judge those of faith as a bunch of "goodie two shoes" who are full of sugary sweet sayings and diluted notions of grandeur. Not to mention a narrow-minded view of the world. I suppose for those who don't experience brokenness this may be true of them. We sure see a lot of it by skewed representations of the God ordained crap out there which sounds good to a select few and in some cases is behind terrorist plots.
What some don't see is that many others who claim some kind of spiritual connection and faith in something higher than themselves have been broken. Think of it as "the thorn in your side". The thing or things that really never get better no matter what you do or how you hard you try. It is not just a "rough" period or a traumatic one time experience. It is a perpetual pain in the ass that surfaces now and again to let you know it is still there. If you dive head first into the dark rabbit hole from which the brokenness speaks, you are reminded of all the ways you feel like a mouse in a maze that has been designed with no exit. No one has moved your cheese. There is no cheese. Just utter darkness and hopelessness. This is why it is important that if you are in that boat to not dive head first into that darkness. It is tempting to do so because the broken place is a beckoning force. The brokenness you feel, yes, is a part of you, BUT only in the sense of a thorn piercing your skin. One day that thorn will be removed...but not today for some of us...not yet. There are many Biblical examples of those who go to the grave, thorn intact. Some never see dreams or promises fulfilled. Just watch an episode of The Voice, Ru Paul's Drag Race, or America's Got Talent. It can be crushing.
(To get a better feel of brokenness you might consider reading a poem I wrote about this called Society's Angel.)
Whether you believe in a God or not, most of us experience some kind of brokenness even if it just lasts for a number years. The real hard ones are the ones that never go away. I was reminded of this on a week of spiritual reflection I've been doing over a number of areas in my life. Near the end of this rather spiritual jubilee, I found myself once again being reminded of the broken areas in my life. Areas that feel they are harder than they need to be. I watch humanity in these particular areas from the distance, behind a glass, unable to touch or experience that fulfillment. It may always be that way. Who knows?
Like Frodo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings, I was staring down into the Death marshes on the way to Mordor and finding myself pulled into the waters where many dead kings and queens lay. A cold darkness hungering to embrace me, consume me to the point where all I say is "I give up" and give in. The embrace, believe it or not, is tempting. At least it is an embrace of some kind.
However, at the ripe age of .....yeah...well let's say I'm experienced... I know not to dive in too deep to brokenness' clarion call. Not head first anyway. I know where that leads now. And this time I came up from the waters with a sense of the plus side of being broken. Paul the Apostle claimed that he heard God tell him that his own "thorn" would not be removed because it allowed God to be strong through him. He didn't just ask but "pleaded" and several times (See II Corinthians Chapter 12). But even if you don't believe or like an Apostle Paul...broken also means open. Open to hear. Open to listen. Open to compassion. Hopefully, if you allow, open to God.
You will never know What the blessings of brokenness can bring if you don't tune into God.
I think of it today as a radio station. 91. God FM. But I also thought must God or even the Universe use pain as a radio station I'm for to tune into in order to teach me? I don't know. I think I would be much happier and enjoy life more if these areas were fulfilled..., but what do I know? I'm certainly no better than an Apostle to live with no thorns in my side. You will never know what the blessings of brokenness can bring (pain in the ass stuff that won't go away) if you don't tune into God. There is a much better embrace than an all-consuming darkness and that is the embrace of the entire Universe, God. Yes, you can tune into other things...alcohol, drugs of some form, friends, busy-ness or what have you. But I dare say there is nothing that compares to hearing a word from God. For some odd reason, we listen better when we are aware of need or in some form of pain. I don't believe for myself that this is always the case but there is a unique listening to the spirit that goes on when we experience pains that won't be ignored.
So to conclude; when the brokenness resurfaces, don't dive in head first. You will feel the pull, the hunger calling to perpetual hunger, bitterness, and despair. Try 91. God FM. It is in no way a permanent fix but in those deep, dark hours where another soul really isn't available or can't relate or the pain is too shameful...God will walk with you. When Jacob wouldn't, God's spirit is said to have wrestled him to the ground and he walked away renewed but with a limp. Brokenness is here to stay. In all likeliness, the thorn is your personal turning fork, and lesson from Life--the Great Teacher. You will have a life journey with this thang...yeah, I don't want it either. But also see the plus side of brokenness--the character it forms in you, the openness, the compassion you can give others because you know what it is to be in touch with the dark. And don't forget...don't go into despair but instead give compassion to yourself too. Spring is in the air. New Life. Get out into nature, look and listen. It will speak to you that you are not alone. God is here and with you. There is a son that was sacrificed and now God knows your pain. Hang on, hold on and tune in to 91.God FM.