Recently I was reading an excerpt from a book wherein the author* recounts an experience of throwing a porcelain pitcher down and breaking it.
She then spent the next several hours gluing it back together, as best she could. It was, for her, a hands-on illustration of how God, as the potter in Jeremiah 18:2-6, mends our broken lives.
While I do believe that God mends broken lives, the illustration just didn't speak to me. Here is why.
To the best of my recollection, I have only deliberately thrown an object to break it, once in my life. And it happened to be a glass water pitcher.
It was during a heated argument with someone who had promised to love and protect me, but who had just made it plain that I would, in fact, be disrespected and ignored most of the time.
I was eighteen years old and we had only been married a few weeks. As I looked ahead at the road I had promised to travel (and would travel for the next twenty-two years); I felt my heart begin to break.
Still, I was no angel, and in those days I had a pretty short fuse. I suddenly threw the water pitching I was washing while we argued, tossing it across the kitchen at his feet. I anticipated the satisfying crash it would make as it shattered into pieces.
But it didn't. It bounced.
It didn't even crack.
Didn't I feel foolish as I picked it up, rewashed it, and put it away? I used it for many years to come, and it served as a reminder to me to not allow my emotions to rule my life, however, painful that might be.
Much like that tossed pitcher, I bounced when thrown once again to the cold, hard ground of reality. I did not break. I did not shatter. I did not give an onlooker the satisfaction of whining. I was too proud to crack open.
But each time I was thrown, and each time I bounced on the hard surface of indifference and disloyalty, I bruised. I bruised in places that no one but God could see.
Eventually, of course, I broke - we all do. And later, when God mended me, I was so grateful. Yes, I still carry around the cracks and scars from my brokenness. But I no longer carry the deep inner bruising of my own unworthiness. That is gone. It was mended by the Worthy One.
Certainly I wish that I had understood back then, what I know now; that there are other ways to be than just broken or bounced around. We can choose to quickly bend (the knee) and bow (the head) and ask for strength, grace and mercy.
Some of us break sooner and more readily than others. Some of us appear to always bounce back, no matter what.
But we each need to be mended one way or another - one time or another.
Let us then handle each other with care. May we gently touch the scars on each others' lives; and be aware that even those who seem never to shatter may be deeply bruised in hidden places.
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Until next time, I wish you mending in your painful places and forgiveness toward those who have bruised you most deeply. The Worthy One will bless you as you heal. ~ Marsha
*(Mended: Pieces of a Life Made Whole ~ Angie Smith)