I see the crack in the wall of this 70-year-old house, and in my mind I can visualize the cracks on my face, the deepening crow’s feet around my eyes and the wrinkles on my neck. And I think about the cracks in my soul, the parts of me that hold pain that had to break off so I could survive so long ago.
The pictures on the shelves of the grandchildren are dated soon after they are displayed. They grow so quickly. You think it will be a long time, the baby stages, but it’s temporary. Wasn’t it just yesterday that their parents were babies too?
The neighborhood where we live is old, with broken sidewalks and broken people, some of them living in rundown houses. They too are trying to survive. Once it was a great area, our subdivision, with remnants of its heyday still in place, but it too is temporary.
What if real life is standing in the broken places, the cracks, the temporary, instead of running to the new and shiny? Do we think if we run away from what is broken we will somehow save ourselves? That if we ignore the pain that wells up in us and medicate it with the new and shiny, it will somehow go away? But to live in denial is to miss the beauty of living in what is real.
When I stand in my broken places, I can ask Jesus to come and stand with me. I can hear him speak life and truth and feel him suture up the wounds with his nail-scarred hands. I don’t have to search out the new and the shiny because his glory becomes my glory. Then it no longer hurts when that wound is touched because the scar tissue is pain-free and strong. My whole being gains strength because I’m not bleeding out of that place anymore. I can now actually love that part of me because Jesus filled it with his love.
I look again at the crack in the wall. “I won’t abandon you, old house. You are still good enough. You serve your purpose well.” I look at my aging face in the mirror and become soft. “Thank you for serving me well. I love you just the way you are.”
All that has been is a part of who I am now, thousands of temporary moments that are stored in my being. They have been happy, joyous, sad, lonely, painful. Some have made me stronger. All have ultimately led me closer to God. As I give him the broken parts that still feel pain and let him heal them one by one, they are reconciled back to the whole of me, and I can be fully present. Because they were meant to be temporary too.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18