“You’re not alone. It’s going to be okay.”
As soon as the words left my lips I realized I had spoken them for myself too. He curled up alongside; just happy to be near and safe. He believed me when I said that everything would be fine. Even as I wrestled with it. I was up all night. In a tangle of bedding and bodies, a fractured arm in a sling, a baby’s frustrated cry…. I tossed around. Swatting back a bitter frustration and closing my eyes to lock up tears. I looked at the sheets of cotton and pockets of feathers holding a boy who woke up feeling alone and a baby frustrated by my inability to hold him the way he wanted… and felt, inadequate. How am I going to do this? It’s hard enough to do it whole. But to do it broken?
My arms are the hinge, the tie, the clasp, the bridge, the hitch, the seam…
They are the connection from my heart to them. They are the tool of my given love. How do I do this? My mind fills with words pouring right over unsteady dams… what if this teaches you another way to love? What if you learn more from brokenness? What if love is expanded over fractured lines? What if you lean in to the Love you need? What if you were broken all along?
Capable limbs are often mistaken for sufficiency.
Even if we think we are held together as on unbroken line; we find ourselves incapable, insufficient, and inadequate.
I’ve found that the people who take pride in never breaking are the most broken of all.
In the morning, the unraveling begins. Around and around. Rolling it neatly as I go. The cotton and plaster are revealed as the bandaging is removed. I pull the sides of a brace apart and carefully slip my arm out. Tenderly lifting the thin cotton under layer, I see my arm in all its foreign, broken glory. The skin bears lines and wrinkles from the wrapping. It looks weak. Days of being held in, unable to move, unable to breathe… Days without purpose and movement, have left their mark.
The enormous work of healing is hidden.
Beyond skin and flesh, deep where no eyes can see, I am being rebuilt.
And isn’t that how it goes? We come apart at the seams. Unwrapping layer after layer, the hardest hearts are revealed. The thin veil of a delicate soul comes forward. We are exposed in all our weakness. All of our brokenness barely held together by cotton and plaster.
The air feels at once like fear and relief. The aching arm is vulnerable and the slightest movement reveals pain that a firm binding allows you to forget. But the cool breeze across terrain that too long has been buried makes my eyes close as my lungs calm.
A deep ache exposed will bring a rush of pain and the release you’ve longed for… You’ll hit your knees and raise your arms to receive. Your hot tears will give way to new air in your lungs.
To heal, to be rebuilt, you’ll first be broken.
The breaking hurts in a way that is deep and cannot be ignored. You’ll bind it up tight and that will allow a momentary lapse in memory. But the binding will begin to nag. You can’t tightly patch up your own pain. The fractured line is still there.
When my soul could no longer be bound, the layers unraveled. A weak, wrinkled shadow was revealed. And at once the pain overwhelmed me. I cried out and was heard.
The slow and constant work of being rebuilt began. The word “healed” written across the place once torn in two. And though for years a cold wind may remind me of the pain. I will time and time again, defiantly stand with:
a past washed clean
a broken soul made new
a fractured line set.