A willingness to sanctify the broken things. Jeff Foster
Recently Jeff Foster wrote that it is necessary to have “a deep reverence for endings. A willingness to sanctify the broken things”, and something deep inside me resonated with his words. I am not sure what: there was a strange vibration, tears rose to my eyes and trickled slowly down my cheeks. We are all broken in some way or another, some of us in many ways. I hear Leonard Cohen singing “the cracks are how the light gets in” and I begin to understand or at least to be able to revere. The radiator to my left has a leak and every once in a while a drop falls into the dish I have placed to catch it. Its sound reaches my ear as I write this. The radiator is my mate in broken things.
The sound of water reminds me that my brother is going to sail across the Atlantic Ocean, from the Canary island of Lanzarote to the Caribbean with his two unexperienced sons as crew. I know he has been broken somewhere deep inside and is somehow looking for home. I hope his journey is a safe one.
I watch as the world changes: my general doctor as of 16 years dies; the sun gives way to rain and wind; Trump is elected; my daughter loses the battle she has been fighting; a friend dies suddenly, unexpectedly; I buy some new dishes (black) and decide to throw away all the old ones; outside my window the waning moon rises still in the memory of its SuperMoon but 48 hours ago. Nothing is ever the same and yet it would seem so. The clutter of notebooks and papers on my desk, the glass full of pens; the rumpled sheets because I am lazy and don’t make my bed; the closet that needs arranging. Downstairs, the azaleas I bought last year to decorate the entrance have developed a fungus. I have carefully washed them with detergent twice, but the brown grime on the underside of the leaves returns and the leaves fall off. They will die eventually: broken things, and I will tear them out by the roots and replace them with new, fresh, flowering azaleas. Will I remember to sanctify them in their brokenness?
Yesterday a friend called; her latest ‘relationship’ had just ended and she has had and lost so many I don’t even know if to call it that. I can’t tell her to sanctify her broken things, not now. She wants to visit, “I need to be with someone serene”, she says over the phone. I agree. Today she calls: she is sick and can’t come. I agree. Broken…
This morning another friend called: “I am terrified,” she said, “I am terrified that I will not be up to the job”; her voice was filled with anguish. Sanctify the broken things. We talked; I listened to her fears, her anguish, her envies. I offered what I had; she took it and said she felt better. Sometimes the cracks are for things to come out and spill over onto others. Sometimes they are to let things in…
My mind often turns to the immigrants (broken things) and my heart goes out to those thousands of unknown faces. If there is something I can do… In the market, this morning, a lady hands me a piece of paper: it is an invitation to volunteer at the food kitchen arranging or serving the food. Ask and you will receive. I will call tomorrow and begin to volunteer. Broken things need to help other broken things to mend, or to help let the light in…
I am crying again; there is a softness in thinking about the cracks that fills my heart with love and longing. Recently my brother came to visit; it was a surprise, a delightful one. We spent a day walking around town and talking. We spoke deeply of our father and of all that he gave up. My father was one of the broken ones, and there was a lot of light inside. When he was 38 he gave up his family, his first wife, his four children, his country, his language, his culture, his history, his friends, his place in society… everything, and went to America. We realized, my brother and I, that we can’t even begin to imagine what that was for him or how he lived with all the cracks.
It is night time now and I must take Salomé, my little dog, out. I wonder if she has cracks too. Is she broken because we, humans, have forced her to live a dependent life, always waiting for her needs to be met, never free to fulfil them herself? There is a gentle sadness in me this evening, it is not unpleasant; rather it is soft, like a warm feather pillow against my chest.
5 thoughts on “THE BROKEN THINGS”
How incredibly beautiful Brianda xx
Thank you so much.
Words can be like soft putty that help fill in the cracks. Or they can stretch us open to let in more light.
Your tears, your cracks and light are shared. So beautiful. Thank you.
There can be cracks, small and big, but if you’re positive, serene, and have self confidence in yourself, like you do, you will always find a way to mend those cracks and they will be just experiences to fulfill your life. Un abrazo Brianda.