Archives for posts with tag: Brokenness

Her Facebook status arrested my attention for a few fleeting moments. “The world is so much prettier through Instagram filters.” So much truth in that statement. And so many lies.

One. Two. Three. Smile! We see the manner in which the picture falls short of our anticipation and we set forth to polish up the dingy portrait and set it right. We dress up the real life and paint it anew, recreating the picture that is there and forcing it to be the picture we desire. There is a darkness lurking behind the drive to Instagram our lives. Our everyday, mundane, boring moments are altered and reshaped and presented to the world as other than they are. We edit the familiar to render it original. We retouch the blemishes. We crop out the ugly corners of living. Pixelated perfection. It isn’t raw or real. It isn’t honest. The “Come to Me” Savior is all-too-familiar with the painful, wounded, ugly, dying parts of us. He wants to see the picture and He doesn’t require the filtered version.

But our photogenic dishonesty betrays at least one precious attribute that we possess. This world is so very disappointing and a picture, worth a thousand words, can give that secret away. We are the changers, the re-creators, the guardians of this brokenness who rage against the way things are and wish that we could make it new. We were intended to yank the weeds and tend the garden. We were made with an innate dissatisfaction with the way things are. Instagram. Our one-click opportunity to retake the true picture. Here again, the “Come to Me” Savior is sympathetic. He is sympathetic with our desire that things be different… that life be better… that the picture improve. He is the “Come to Me” Savior who is also “making all things new”. He knows all too well that a simple filter will never suffice, but He understands our deep dissatisfaction with the way that things are. He is dissatisfied, too.

The gift of recreation comes neither through the untouched photo nor through the Instagrammed one. The gift comes when we finally answer the “Come to Me”, and we are seen.

I love the book of Ecclesiastes. It is one of my favorites and I return to it frequently. When life turns me on my head, Ecclesiastes reminds me that life has always been turning people on their heads, even the wisest, most knowledgeable, most secure of people.

The most recent “disaster” in my extensive history of medical disasters was the sudden loss of 25 lbs, for which the only explanation are my ongoing surgical complications. On a five foot tall frame, 25 lbs is a lot of weight. Before I knew what was happening, my body could not stave off infection and became ravaged with fever, nausea, and pain.

But I am a lucky one.

When I am starving – quite literally starving – for nutrients and medicine and care, I take a short drive to the hospital. I can spend as many days as I need, get all of the attention that I need, have IV bags full of nutrition custom-made for what I need.

Hunger is a term which has three meanings (Oxford English Dictionary 1971)

  • the uneasy or painful sensation caused by want of food; craving appetite. Also the exhausted condition caused by want of food
  • the want or scarcity of food in a country
  • a strong desire or craving

In round numbers there are 7 billion people in the world. According to the 2012 World Hunger Education Service, 13.1% of them are hungry. That is almost 1 in every 7 people.

The numbers… the statistics… we’ve heard them all. We’ve felt them, too. We’ve felt the sheer immensity of them. We’ve grieved the complexity of the world in which we live, where food prices soar, governments exploit agriculture, and systemic violence and class systems ensure that the poor will always be with us.

For me these days, hundreds of milliliters of completely accessible nutrients course through my veins for twelve hours each night. I am fed with food that is more than sufficient for me. I look at the homeless man on the corner of Division St and the disparity between us makes me queasy. I feel guilty. The dizzy, spinney, sick feeling sends me back to Ecclesiastes. “There is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God.”

Ah. Ecclesiastes turns me back around. It is not wrong to enjoy. My guilt matures… if it is not wrong to enjoy food and drink, then the question becomes howhow to enjoyhow to enjoy and celebrate and still stand in solidarity with those who cannot join my feasting?

This is the Holy Frustration.

I want to dialogue in my community about this question of how. DL’s proposition is powerful… cooking theologically… inspiring.  It is incredible that we can turn even our eating and drinking into a holy experience and an act of solidarity: the kingdom of God coming like yeast in dough.

~Annie Bolger Quick, editor

And then comfort comes.

Sometimes it’s quiet and gentle. Other times it’s more loud and abrupt. Sometimes it’s with a cup of tea. A nap. A book. A few quiet hours. With words poured out on a blank page. With some reassuring advice. A hug. A long run. A road trip. With yelling in my car. A baby’s snuggles.

Comfort comes with the acceptance of what’s happened and the desire to move forward.Comfort doesn’t come by forcing organization upon chaos, but by making sense of it. Organizing and beautifying the chaos, disaster, and heartache would be a discredit to it. The goal is to find hope and peace at the end of it without degrading the pain, but easing it in the light of truth. God’s truth. The only truth.

And that’s when comfort comes. Seeing chaos through the pure light of God’s truth.

-andrea