Beauty in the brokenness
I was sitting outside while the kids played on the swing set. I didn’t want to be - I felt checked out. My mind was preoccupied with grief and confusion and sadness. My three year old kept asking me to push her on the swing, so I very slowly and reluctantly would get up and give her a push. I sat back down, hoping the pushes would keep her content for a while. I stared off in the distance, my thoughts in a half prayer and that’s when I noticed it. Behind our swing set and over our fence is our compost pile. In addition to the compost, we throw broken sticks and cut tree branches on this pile. And there among the trash, among the broken branches, were these beautiful white flowers. I immediately started crying at how beautiful and unexpected these flowers were. In reality, these flowers may have been there this whole time; I’ve never noticed them. I never really look at this pile of junk, mainly because it’s just a pile of junk - why would I want to look at it? Seeing these flowers, this beauty in the brokenness, made me wonder how much more beauty do we miss because we’re not looking for it?
Marriage can feel like this sometimes. It’s easy to look away, feeling like there’s nothing left but bad and ugly and broken. We don’t expect to see anything different than this, and the truth is, when we’re feeling like this and we’re not looking for the good, it can be hard to see. But sometimes we’re given something to change our perspective - maybe it’s grace, maybe it’s something else, but it shifts our focus. This shift in focus can help us look up and see something different, something unexpected, something beautiful. When we see something beautiful it can give us hope, it can help us to re-engage with our partner; it can strengthen us to take risks by lowering our wall and sharing vulnerably.
Seeing this beauty doesn’t take away the brokenness. My pile of trash is still full of compost and broken sticks. Similarly, seeing beauty in a marriage doesn’t and shouldn’t blind us to the parts that need healing. What it hopefully does do is give us hope and courage to keep fighting, to realize that there is something beautiful worth mending. Seeing these flowers in the trash pile helped me accept that it doesn’t have to be either/or - it doesn’t have to be either broken orbeautiful. We can find beauty in the brokenness.
Are there parts of your marriage or life that feel broken? If you look hard, can you find beautiful parts too? Can you see beauty in the brokenness?