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fixing what’s broken

les fleurs

I woke up Sunday morning to sunshine, and pink blossoms on the trees, and a sky that is all kinds of lovely blue. I woke up to my favorite kind of a Sunday – one that is equal parts lazy and uplifting and inspiring. I went about my normal routine slowly, methodically, with plenty of time to relish the feel of the fresh spring morning, and plenty of time to think. {Note: this post is a few days in the making, hence the words about Sunday, when I’m posting on a Tuesday, but the majority of it is the product of my Sunday musings!}

So today I have some thoughts for you about brokenness, and a little bit about change, and a little bit about potential. A while ago I wrote another piece about brokenness, on a night where I felt terribly broken myself. What I have to say today has a different tone than that, though, and most of these ideas have been spurred by situations I’ve seen around me lately, with one person’s situation in particular (who I hope reads this at some point).

Broken. Meaning not whole, not complete, something missing. The most basic picture of broken that comes to my mind is that of dishes. I picture circular plates, and clear glasses, and well-loved bowls lying fragmented on the light-brown hardwood kitchen floor, the result of a hastily moved elbow, or a slipping of the fingers. I picture something that is no longer fit to serve its purpose of holding food, but instead is simply destined for the trash, and an unknown landfill, somewhere on the edge of town.

And the thing about broken dishes is that no one usually breaks a plate or a cup or a bowl on purpose. Well, maybe you do, if you’re my dad and you have visions of garden mosaics in your head that your family will only ever chuckle and roll their eyes at. But not many people frequently go around breaking dishes. When these items are broken, it’s by accident. One thing leads to another, and suddenly you have this pile of colorful pieces lying at your feet.

I’m a person for finding lessons in simplicity, so I’m going to go ahead and dig something out of broken ceramic and shards of glass.

Life happens. We are humans, imperfect, and flawed, and – at times – very, very much broken. Broken by circumstances, or by choices, or by consequences, or by emotions, or by doubts…take your pick. Everyone has their own form of elbow bumps or slipped fingers that lead to those pieces on the floor. I don’t think that anyone intentionally brings something into their life that they know is going to break them. As much as trials make me a stronger person, I can’t honestly say that I’m the kind of person that invites them. Just like anyone else, I’d rather stay intact, thank you very much.

But life happens. Life brings beauty, but it also brings imperfection, and struggles, and so many, many factors that jostle us around and lead us down unwanted paths and quite often break us.

But the thing about broken is that it is a far cry from destroyed, or vaporized, or obliterated. Broken can be fixed. Yes, it takes some effort, but it is one hundred percent possible to reach down, pick up those pieces, and put them back into their proper place. Whether it’s a broken friendship, or a broken life, broken can be fixed.

I’ve heard a handful of adorable stories over my life of little children who accidentally break a parent’s cherished china dish and then try their hardest to glue, or tape, or rubber band the fragments back together again. When something that has value gets broken, you make the effort to fix it. Think about that for a sec.

Also, in order to put something back together again, you need some form of glue or something to get it to stay, so you’re not just fitting pieces back into a puzzle just so they can get dumped out into a mess again as soon as the puzzle is flipped upside down. From what I can tell, life-glue has many forms, and there are often many types of life-glue needed to fix what has been broken. Life glue can be found in the form of apologies, or confessions, or faith, or hope, or belief, or Christ, or prayer, or late-night talks, or service, or scriptures, or running, or yoga, or hot chocolate, or sunrises, or really anything.

We are all broken in some way, and we all have a go-to life-glue for whatever situation we might be in. I have my thoughts and deep-seated beliefs about what is the true life-glue, but to each his own – I know that not everyone shares the same thoughts. But find your life-glue.

Broken can be fixed. Never, ever, ever toss up your hands and give up. Never. 

You have something inside of you that absolutely and completely strong enough to pick up those pieces at your feet.

Sometimes this is a hard fact for me to tell myself, since it is usually about twenty-one times easier to just look at those pieces and cry and throw a pity party and then pull out the trash can and neatly sweep up the remnants up and throw them away. Despair is a real feeling. Hopelessness is a real feeling. Helplessness is a very, very real feeling. But giving into those feelings and throwing away all chances of wholeness brings a worse feeling, and a more enduring feeling, than all of those combined.

And yes, change is hard. Fitting pieces together until they turn back into a plate takes time, and effort, and patience with the methodical and often slow process of figuring out which piece goes where. Looking at the whole mess in your hands is overwhelming, but great things take time, and piece-by-piece it will come together again.

And yes, I know that there’s no possible way for me to have any idea what everyone in the world is exactly and specifically going through. But I do know that broken, in one form or another, happens for everyone. And I have no desire to streamline everyone’s problems at all – in fact, far from it. Broken hurts. But I know for a fact that we haven’t been dealt anything that we can’t glue ourselves back together from after the impact. 

I have faith in you. If you’re that one specific person reading this right now that I’m sort of halfway writing to, I have complete faith in you. And even if you’re not that one specific person, I still have faith in you. There is light in you. There are gallons and gallons of hope. You have everything in you to turn around and face that light. You know where it is, where you can find it, and you have wonderful people right behind you, backing you every step of the way.

Broken can be fixed. Messed up friendships, or situations, or relationships – whether we were the ones doing the messing up or not – can be mended. Broken can be fixed.

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other places to find me (because making friends is fun, right?!):

twitter >>> @tessabrynnk

bloglovin’ >>> life and loveliness

pinterest >>> tessa kohler

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4 Comments

  1. Claudia B

    Tessa, your blog on fixing what’s broken is beautiful. Well said.

  2. Pingback: pretty words that you should read // 004 | life and loveliness

  3. I LOVE this post, Tessa. I think all of life is about fixing what is broken, but also learning to look at “broken” in a different way. Because in the end, “broken” is a construct. Sometimes our brokenness is what makes us more compassionate, kind and human. It’s what we want to DO with our brokenness. I am always reminded of this Japanese art:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kintsugi

  4. Eileen Mitchell

    Loved these thoughts. I believe we learn from being broken, and even more by the life glue that we can piece ourselves together with. Thank you for your insights. I really admire you.

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