Shattered Glass Vase… An Easter-ish Story

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[A contemplative EASTER piece of sorts]

This is what I want to say to you, If I had one chance to tell you something…You are loved, more that you can imagine.” Rebecca St. James,

I got a paper cut the other day, and that little stinker just stung right up into my brain. Every time that part of my finger rubbed across anything for a day or so, I was paralyzed with pain. When the scab finally showed up, my other fingers would carefully but confidently stroke over it, remembering how it happened, and at least for a few days, slowing down before grabbing another sheet of computer paper.
Then the day came when I wanted to save a dish. Do you ever do that? How rational is it to think keeping that one dirty dish out of the sink is really going to make your life a bazillion times less busy.
Well, I chose the cutting board that night as my choice for, “You will remain standing clean and pristine against the wall” and ventured to cut up the salad in my hand.

I must have been distracted, and the next thing I knew, the tomato in my hand was sliced along with the palm it was in. Ouch!

No matter how much I beat myself up about not using the cutting board, I couldn’t step back in time two seconds and remove this now gushing slash across my lines of life. I was frantically looking for a paper towel when my roommate walked into the kitchen. Anyway, the gash wasn’t deep enough to warrant stitches, and guess who did the dishes that night?

I couldn’t handle things in my left hand for several days. When the bandages came off, the scab itched and added a temporary new line of life to my growing heap of scars.


A year after I graduated from college, a good friend stopped by unannounced and he was covered with broken glass. As he sat across from me and shared his heartaches of lost love, and his powerlessness over an entangling addiction, I pictured him crouched over in fetal position trying to protect himself from more cuts. More anguish. More scars. He was made of glass, but it was all shattered. He almost looked like a porcupine with jagged edges sticking out everywhere. With each detail of hurt, the heap of sadness grew sharper, and the edges of his brokenness cut deeper. I could not touch him. I had no words that could penetrate truth and love through his walls of hopelessness. But I knew someone who did. I knew someone who could. And would.
I saw him again the next day, and I told him.
You have a big heap of broken glass, surrounding your messed up and neglected heart. I know someone who wants to meet you.
Surround you.
Envelope you.
Hug you.
Hold you.
Yes.
Be cut in order to put His arms around you.
Be ripped in order to reach your heart.
Be pierced in order to love you.
Be broken in order to help you see your need for grace.
Bleed in order to quench your thirst for forgiveness.
And he’ll hold you as long as it takes.
No matter the pain it causes him.
No matter the oceans of tears you need to cry.
No matter how many times you ask why.
No matter how it just doesn’t seem right.
No matter if it’s day and night,
and day and night
again.
Jesus.
Whenever I see a vase made of shattered glass, I think of my friend. Now when the sun shines onto his life of scars, rays of beauty and peace, love and joy, grace and hope, cascade out of the cracks and reach anyone who crosses his path and asks him what happened.I love those broken glass vases! You can run your finger along the side of them, and they feel smooth and safe. But the paper-cuts of everyday mishaps, the lines of life’s disappointments and poor choices, and the deep wounds of disastrous failures and shameful pasts are forever etched within the confines of the artist’s handiwork.

How can he make something so beautiful out of something so broken?

I don’t know how he does it.
I just know he can.
And he does.
He did for my friend.
And he did. For me.

You see, the pieces hold together with love inexplicable. But the lines still show. Because beauty is not the absence of lines. Or forgetting all that was broken. Or erasing the hurt. Freedom and lasting beauty lie in the stories the lines tell. The stories of forgiveness. Healing. Second chances.

Those lines are his reminders to me. That, yes, this life will have pain. And mess. And stumbles. But these very lines become his pathways into my heart. The very lines I shut off to the world because of shame or fear or whatever excuse I come up with to keep love out are the very tunnels he uses to reach me when no one else can. Because he can. And he will. And he does…

Do whatever it takes to love me.

Amazing love.
How can it be…

 

***

Happy Easter, ALL! Ever found something beautiful made from something broken? 


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