The poet Christian Wiman wrote this line: "God goes belonging to every riven thing he's made." The word "riven" is an old-fashioned word that means to tear apart violently. In a similar vein the poet William Butler Yeats wrote: "nothing can be sole or whole that has not been rent." The writer Ernest Hemingway wrote this line: "The world breaks everyone, and afterward many are strong in the broken places."
Being broken is something we all have to deal with at some time in our life. The death of a loved one, broken relationships, financial disaster, business failure; all of these experiences makes us feel as if we have been broken.
And we all have these experiences.
That is the reality of life.
I have been struggling with the concept of being sole or whole or being stronger after being torn apart or broken. My own life experiences tell that is true even though at the time of being broken, it is impossible to see. This takes time, of course.
We don't feel stronger the day after something happens that breaks our hearts. Tragedy and heartbreak seem to be all around us, and sometimes it feels overwhelming.
So what is the proper or healthy response to the reality of brokenness? I have found that a kind word, a visit, even a card help. Any way that we can show others that we love them and that we are with them in times of grief is what we should do. Without those human responses from us, it might be hard for friends to heal, to become stronger.
There is another form of brokenness, one that is described in Matthew 5:3. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
This has always been hard for me to understand.
How can people who are "poor in spirit" have the kingdom of heaven? Shouldn't it be the other way around? Maybe there is a relationship between the worldly reality of being broken and the blessing that can happen when we are poor in spirit. I have found there are many opinions about exactly what this verse means. Perhaps if we confront our brokenness and thereby come to a quality of mind that causes us to seek, praise, surrender, we will have that poverty of spirit that can reap a blessing.
Lynn Jinks is an attorney with Jinks, Crow & Dickson, P.C.