“You’re a survivor! Look at the hand life dealt you, and look at what you’re doing with it. You’re still in the game, girl! Things may be hard, but you’re making it on broken pieces.” I boldly declared that to my mirror’s reflection as mascara-stained tears streamed down my cheeks and rolled down to my chest. I sought to encourage myself after dealing with seemingly a lottery of life’s mishaps. I had survived. I didn’t have much to my name, I had little to no peace, and it seemed as if there was a smoking pile of rubble behind me signifying the portions of my life that were once engulfed in flames and now reduced to mere remains; but I made it out and kept it moving. I pressed forward each day in the name of making in on broken pieces. “You’re so strong,” people would say to me as they watched the public edition of my life’s story. But beneath the strength and the smile were still fragments. I was still broken into pieces. I accepted “making it on broken pieces” until one day a shard of the jagged edge of life cut me deep enough to draw blood. “There has to be more to life than this.”
|Broken Pieces |
Over the last few weeks, I have seen quite a few friends on social media making the same declaration as I did in my bathroom that lonely night, “I am making it on broken pieces.” As I scrolled past post after post, I felt a bit of a tug on my heart. I could vividly remember the pride I had for surviving the fire, the flood, and the hurricane any way I could. In some of those cases, I fought for my life and escaped by the hair of my chinny chin, chin! If my escape could have an ocular demonstration, I imagine me busting out of a wooden door that was locked with my clothes ripped, tear stains and smudges on my face, my hair tousled about my head as I run with one shoe left behind. That is escape! And once you make it on the other side of that door, you’re just happy to be out and to have a chance to make a run for it.
Let me begin by saying that I am so incredibly proud of any and all of you who found a way to survive on your pieces that may be broken, shattered, and fragmented. It takes courage to not die in that place but find a normal routine and remain alive.
Escape: getting out of that toxic relationship, getting from up under the influence of manipulation, breaking the cycle of oppression and lack…these are just a few examples of my escapes. I made it out and seemingly found a rhythm because survival is in my bloodline. I just kept going, doing, and being. I was so devoted to waking every morning and applying a mask so that I could get through the hustle and bustle of the day that I didn’t realize how dysfunctional my life actually was. It wasn’t until one of those shards cut deep enough that I found myself bleeding on people. My patience was just a little bit thinner, words became less sweet and little bit shorter, and before I knew it, my testimony of survival was laced with bitterness. Even worse, I found myself justifying my bitterness. I was bleeding on the very people I loved and influenced because one of those jagged shards of my broken pieces that I once proudly survived on was hurting me.
Quick story… A friend of mine gifted me with a glass-top dining room table. I was very grateful because I didn’t have one since I left my last living situation with very little furniture. I won’t bore you with the details of our journey to get that heavy glass from her second floor apartment across town to my third floor apartment. I’ll just say $70 and four hours later, the table sat beautifully in my dining nook. Then in a freak accident, I bumped the glass and it came crashing down to my hardwood floor and shattered. I was as broken as that table. In fact I was so heart-broken that I turned from that room, climbed into my bed, and cried most of the night. All that effort, all that money, all of that time just for it to be destroyed. The next morning I got up, put shoes on my feet, swept up all the glass, and life went on.
Now imagine if I hadn’t swept up the glass. What if I decided that I wanted to continue to look at that table because of the effort that was invested into it? What if the memorial of the table was more important to me that having a safe floor to walk on? And how dumb would it be if I pulled my chairs up to the remains of my table frame and ate dinner with broken glass beneath me declaring, “I’m making it work with these broken pieces!” That doesn’t seem very logical, does it?
So you’ve escaped. You’re alive. You’re making it. Now what?
“God, pick up the pieces. Put me back together again…”
Jeremiah 17: 14 [The Message Bible]
THE MORAL OF THE STORY
Once I became aware of the fact that I was merely surviving and going through the motions on these broken pieces, I was dissatisfied with my declaration of survival. I desperately needed to know if there was more to life than this daily cycle of being alive but not living. I refused to be content with brokenesss in every area of my life. I didn’t want broken friendships, relationships, finances, insomnia, no peace, health issues, hair loss, and secret depression in name of ” Making it on Broken Pieces.” I wanted my life to be better. And then I there was Jeremiah 17:14…the simple prayer that was my heart’s cry. “God, pick up the pieces. Put me back together again…”
Once last quick story? Jesus and his disciples went to Jerusalem. By the sheep market there was a pool called “Bethesda.” This pool had five covered porches where crowds of sick people – some lame, blind, or paralyzed – would lay. At certain times, an angel of the Lord would come stir the water. The first to step into the water would be healed. Laying under one of those covered porches was a man who had been there for 38 years. When Jesus saw the man, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?” The King James Version says, “Wilt thou be made whole?” The sick man replied with excuses that there was no one to put him in the pool when it stirred; therefore, people keep getting healed before he had a chance. Jesus responded to him saying, “Rise, take up your bed, and walk,” and immediately the man was made whole.
A few things stood out to me.
- Jesus asked a man who was clearly sick if he wanted to be whole. To me that seems like a no brainer. Mr. Jesus, he’s been here for 38 years; of course he wanted to be healed! But, According to Chris, I believe Jesus asked the man that question because not everyone who is broken wants to be whole. We all know that one person who, no matter how much they’ve overcome, will always be a victim. And no matter how much help he/she may or may not have, it is more convenient for that individual to remain in the state of brokenness because it has its perks…attention, no expectations of greater, no responsibility, etc.
- When asked if he wanted to be whole, by a man who could certainly heal him, the sick man offered excuses. He began to blame shift to those who didn’t extend a helping hand and those who stepped ahead of him to obtain the thing that he’d hoped for. Oh, you know how it is. I can’t tell you how salty I have been in the times when my ex boyfriends or friends seemed to be doing better than me after our split when I was the one with the good heart. (Those were some of my exact words.) But in this scripture, Jesus doesn’t ask him about the desires, intentions, or actions of anyone else. What matters is what the one who is broken wants.
- Jesus wanted to heal him. Personally, I don’t believe Jesus would have approached this man, on the Sabbath no less, if he didn’t have the desire to make him whole. And with seven words, he commanded healing to the sick man.
- Being made whole required the sick man to do something. I’ll go deeper. Being made whole required the sick man to do something that his excuses prevented him from doing. He said that there was no one available to carry him…pick him up and move him. Jesus told him, in essence, to get up on his own and move forward. THEN he was made whole. Being made whole will require an exchange of excuses for a decision.
It is not God’s will that you remain shattered in shards and fragments of broken pieces. The truth is, it may boil down to you making a DECISION. Are you satisfied with the shards of your survival? Are you content with the broken pieces that surround your mere existence but may be suppressing your life? What was once a badge of honor and pride in one season can be the very thing that causes you to bleed out in another season.
Oh, I forgot to tell you what happened with my dining room table. I bagged up all of the glass, and eventually I got a new table top. In my case, what remained was a bit too damaged to put back together. So just like in Jeremiah 18 when the potter saw that what was on his wheel was marred (damaged), “He made it again another vessel.” He made something new of it. Regardless, what was broken just wouldn’t cut it.
So what now? Maybe you will have to have a quick chat with yourself to discover if enough is enough for you. You’ll have to decide if you’re tired of the broken pieces that fill your life, then you’ll have to decide if you want to be made whole. If your answer is yes, you may have to let your heart cry a prayer like, “God, pick up the pieces. Put me back together again…” You’ve survived with broken pieces, now imagine living a life without them.
In case you have fallen by the wayside of life
Dreams and visions shattered, you’re all broken inside
You don’t have to stay in the shape that you’re in
The potter wants to put you back together againIn case your situation has turned upside down
And all that you’ve accomplished, is now on the ground
You don’t have to stay in the shape that you’re in
The potter wants to put you back together againYou who are broken, stop by the potter’s house
You who need mending, stop by the potter’s house
Give Him the fragments of your broken life
My friend, the potter wants to put you back together again“The Potter’s House” by Walter and Tramaine Hawins