She swoops in when things are darkest, asks lots of questions and is extremely wise. She is the kind of woman who can look intently into the heart of things in the way an artist can see a canvas and sees what true beauty can become of it. When she gives me gems of wisdom, I treasure them; many of our conversations have words I know by heart. I am surrounded by so many who feel broken and weak right now that I know I must share this gem with you. Rather than tuck away these pearls of wisdom, I want to set them and boldly wear them over my heart for all to see. I must confess that when the Spirit gives me treasure, I sometimes want to hold it closely and bury it instead of sharing and investing. (Reminds me of a parable about talents…)
In the old corps dorms-turned-female-dorms of Texas A&M, we spent hours talking into the night on hard mattresses. Now, eight years later, I sat across from her on my pull-out hospital bed and she in a light green plastic chair, still lovely from the day of work and eating some dinner she brought, it was hard for me to believe that nearly ten years had passed.
I confessed to her that my heart and eyelids were heavy. While others rave about my strength, I have never felt so weak or more broken in the midst of my resilience. “Am I numb from shock? Am I not able to pray deliberately each moment because I am distant or because I am dwelling in a pit with him at all times and the Spirit is interceding on my behalf when I can’t find the words (Romans 8:23)?”
Her almond eyes stared into mine. I knew wisdom was coming; she always listens fully and then ponders the meaning behind my words before speaking. Her comfort is never cliche or wasted. We all need those friends who can be silent and yet hear our heart.
“Kait, you know how the Bible says we are like jars of clay?” We are weak and fragile but containing treasure. Well, you are a cracked and broken jar.”
(True friends know when to call you a cracked pot, you know.)
“Kait, your treasure is the Light you shine here. People see Jesus in a very dark place. To see it, your jar is being cracked so that more light can come through. You see weakness and brokenness. They see light.”
Now, I’ve always pictured clay jars holding gems or maybe the Dead Sea Scrolls when I’ve seem that verse. I have never pictured the imagery of light coming through.
Folks, that is a GOOD WORD.
When we see inspiration, we don’t see the broken vessel nearly as much as what pours out of it. That is how we see what the intangible. We can only see examples of strength, resilience, forgiveness, grace– we “see” these things when they pour out unexpectedly.
We are most beautiful when we are broken.
Cancer and difficulties from an extra chromosome are intricately woven throughout my son’s body. When joy radiates through it, he is beautifully broken. Light pours out.
This hospital room would be pitch black at night if not for the pump screens and red dot from the pulse-oxygen wrap. Those tiny screens illuminate the whole room.
I often tell my boys, “Be a light. There is more darkness than light, but light is more powerful. Darkness, no matter how formidable, cannot overcome the light on its own.”
We all have cracks, holes and blemishes. Do others use those holes as places to look through ways to peer into your hidden heart? Do others see light pouring out?
I am humbled by my friend’s assessment and offer the story not to ask for praise but to offer this wisdom and my own conviction: when we are too focused on ourselves, the broken vessel, we can be afraid of what we might lose or what might fall out through our cracks. Don’t be. Showcase something wonderful. Let your light shine through the cracks. If you do it right, eventually others will see more light than clay.
Brokenness hurts. No one likes being cracked and chipped. Remember that it is hard to see the masterpiece from the inside out. Trust the potter and let your light shine.