The top of his head does not reach the kitchen sink, but he has a good arm and is determined to put his dirty dishes where they belong. As I watched him heave his hard plastic bowl into the sink, I saw the impending disaster, but did not have enough time to stop it.
The bowl chiseled a crescent shaped chunk off of the glass during the instant of contact.
The crescent of glass snapped backward hitting what remained of its broken form causing yet another break, which then resulted in several hairline cracks. As I removed the shards of glass from my sink I thought about the sight I witnessed and what humans have in common with the broken object.
I remembered times in my life when an outside force took a piece of me clean off. I'm not writing about broken bones or torn flesh...emotional breaks is the pain to which I infer.
Hurled insults. Crash!
Failed attempts. Crash!
Unrequited love. Crash!
Promises pulverized. Crash!
Honesty hidden. Crash!
Trust snapped. Crash!
Security betrayed. Crash!
When a person suffers a break in her spirit or heart, the jagged edges left from the initial blow often become agents of additional damage. It is human nature to want to either fight back or build a protective covering to decrease the chance of subsequent attacks. Sometimes both. And sometimes....most times, these instinctual human reactions cut deeper than what was first dealt.
Lies believed. Clink.
Revenge plotted. Clink.
Walls erected. Clink
Slanders spread. Clink
Self-hatred permeated. Clink.
How easily damage begets damage. Brokenness begets brokenness. Pain begets pains.
As I look back on my life experiences two feelings overflow from the container that was once broken: Compassion. Gratitude.
Compassion for broken. Compassion toward those whose wounds were self inflicted. Compassion for those whose jagged edges are causing hurt to others. Not excuses. Not a free pass. Not an endorsement. Not inaction. But compassion.
Gratitude to the One who heals. To the One who seeks to restore the shattered. Gratitude to a loving and just God who is the only one with enough power to repair the damaged vessel. Gratitude to Jesus who allowed the outside world to break Him but did not allow those breaks to undermine His power, love, and authority.
Gratitude to He who smooths the ugly jagged edges into beauty.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.” Psalm 147: 3-5 NIV