I was driving with my son and he remarked, “I just realized that I’m broken and I’m always going to be broken.” We both burst out laughing. What he said was profound and true. But he said it as though it just occurred to him out of the blue instead of after years of struggling with heartbreaking results.
We’re all broken. For some of us, our brokenness is more apparent. For others, our brokenness is more in the shadows. The question for each of us is whether we see our brokenness. And then, once we see our brokenness, will we live into it.
There is no shame in being broken. In fact, being broken is being human. We all have rough spots and uneven surfaces that are part of who we are. Where we go wrong is how we manage our brokenness. A person struggling with addiction will tell you that being in denial and using substances to numb or cope is not good management of their brokenness. Someone living with a chronic illness may have to make lifestyle adjustments or take medications in order to manage their brokenness.
The great mystery of God’s love is to live in our brokenness. It’s almost as if our unique brokenness is our invitation to God’s unique love for us. Jesus was drawn to the broken, those on the margins, and the invisible. He saw them. He addressed them. He gave voice to them. He loved them. In their brokenness. Without judgement. Unconditionally.
The great challenge for us is to live in our brokenness. Our weakness becomes our strength.
Once we stopped laughing, I reminded my son that the very essence of his brokenness was exactly what made him so special. His insights and abilities and creativity were augmented by his brokenness. It was just a matter of learning to harness it to serve himself and others, rather than be enslaved or traumatized by it.
Advent reminds us that the great mystery of God’s love is to live in our brokenness.