As I contemplate the events of the last few months, I can truly say that my spirit was broken. And as I struggle to put the missing pieces of my life together, I realize that it is in this state that I can truly love. Loving from a place where I thought I had it all together doesn’t seem as authentic as loving from brokenness does.
Loving From Brokenness
I’m sure you’ve read this story before but it bears re-reading –
Puppies For Sale
As a store owner tacked a sign above his door, ‘Puppies for Sale,’ a little boy appeared and asked. “How much are you going to sell those puppies for?”
The storeowner replied “$50 each.”
The little boy reached into his pocket and pulled out some change. “I have $2.37, can I have a look at them?”
The store owner smiled and whistled. Out of a kennel came Lady, followed by her five balls of four-legged fur. One puppy limped and lagged considerably. “What’s wrong with that little dog?” the boy asked.
The store owner explained that the puppy was born without a hip socket, and the vet told him that the puppy would limp for the rest of its life. The little boy’s face lit, “That’s the puppy I want to buy!”
The store owner replied, “No, you don’t. If you really want him, I’ll give him to you.” The little boy did not hide his annoyance. “I don’t want you to give him to me. He’s worth every penny. I would like to give you $2.37 now, and 50 cents every month until he’s paid for.” Taken aback, the store owner minced no words, “Young man, this puppy is never going to be able to run, jump or play like other puppies!”
The boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg, to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a bulky metal brace. He looked up at the storeowner, “Well, I don’t run so well myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands.”
I find that my brokenness makes me more aware of others and better able to reach out in love and openness to them. It makes me realize that I have nothing to give anyone except my understanding and love.
Loving From Brokenness Makes Love Real
Today I think about Jean Vanier’s work at L’Arche and writing that have always resonated with me. Vanier’s work among the more severally mentally handicapped led him to write a lot about intimacy and vulnerability. We can be truly intimate (not the sexual context of the word) with another when we let go our own defenses and reveal our brokenness to them. As one of the volunteers in L’Arche writing of working among the severely handicapped said: “They never ask what degree do you have, what university did you attend. They only ask, ‘Do you love me?’ In the end, isn’t that what matters?”
So loving from brokenness allows me to let myself love and be loved. It allows me to bear my flaws and show my vulnerability. To ask for what I need. To reach out to someone else’s need. I find myself crying more, allowing myself to be truly seen – flaws and all and trusting that I can love and be loved despite my brokenness.
Let someone love you just the way you are–as flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you sometimes feel, and as unaccomplished as you think you are. To believe that you must hide all the parts of you that are broken, out of fear that someone else is incapable of loving what is less than perfect, is to believe that sunlight is incapable of entering a broken window and illuminating a dark room. – Marc Hack
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