Thursday, April 2, 2015

Being Broken

It seems as though my entire life has been meant to fix broken things.   As a mother, I have charged with fixing broken things. I have been responsible to take care of broken toys, broken hearts, broken promises, broken furniture, broken dishes, broken pets, broken appliances...well, you get the idea.

Now here I am at the ripe old age of 40 (gasp) and find that I have been broken in almost every possible way.  In my 40 years, especially the past five years, I have been broken mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically and financially.  My life of fixing broken things started wen I was about 4.  My father and brother died a few months apart and left my mother broken herself.  One of the first things I remember as a child was my mother dealing with that brokenness.  I remember her telling people that she didn't know how she would survive without me.  At the age of 4, I understood that to mean that I had to be strong to fix her also.  She didn't intentionally put that responsibility on me, but I took it and ran with it.  To me, dealing with her brokenness was worse than dealing with my own.

Of all the ways I have been broken, being spiritually broken was by far the most devastating.  I grew up in the Methodist Church.  My grandfather was a Methodist minister.  To me, God was some distant, unfeeling, detached entity somewhere in the cosmos.  My mother used to curse Him a lot after the deaths of Dad and Rick, but she still taught me to have "faith" and pray although I had no idea what that meant or how to do it.  To this day I can still recite the Apostle's Creed and remember all the hymns we learned in church.  I remember the smell of the sanctuary and the taste of the grape juice during our monthly communion.  I remember as I was older sitting with the choir and singing, many times as a teenager, I did so with a hangover from a party the night before.  It was all about going through the motions.

As an adult, I found out how spiritual brokenness truly felt.  I felt it when I was a very young mother in an abusive relationship with nobody but my mother on whom I could depend. I felt it when I had the happiest life possible and lost it all over and over again with no answers and nowhere to turn. I felt it the times I was told my husband would not make it through this heart attack or this accident or this drinking binge.  If there truly is a hell, I believe that being broken spiritually is it. 

When I lost my last job, I lost every shred of hope and love for life that I had.  Truthfully, I had been losing it all piece by piece for a few years, and that day ripped the last fibers from my hands.  There is no colder, more awful feeling in the world than feeling alone.  Not the type of alone you feel when your kids and spouse are gone and the house is empty.  The alone that you can only feel when you are spiritually broken.  One day during that time, I had the overwhelming urge to hit my knees and turn things over to my Higher Power.  I wasn't even sure who that was or if there was one at that point.  There at the foot of my bed, I poured out my entire heart to whatever was out there to listen.  I told everything and I cried.  I can't say it happened instantaneously, but at some moment before I left that room, I had an overwhelming sense of peace wash over me and I no longer felt alone. 

It has been a rough, rocky trail.  I am now approximately one year out from that day when I finally gave up and gave it and gave it away.  Since that day I have not felt alone again.  Not once.  My life has turned completely around and the burdens I had back there at the foot of that bed have become blessings today.  Things are far from perfect and some things aren't even OK, but they are infinitely better than I imagined  that day.  One of the most important lessons I learned since then was that the further I get away from center, the more unstable and unpredictable life becomes.  I daresay one of the best blessings I have had this far in life came from being broken and put back together again.