“It’s broken. I’m so sorry.”
When the Doctor spoke these words, I looked at my son’s face to see tears rolling down his cheeks. He knew this news meant I would have to cancel his hockey registration and he was devastated by that. And yet, even in the midst of his sadness, my sweet little 9-year-old remained quite optimistic. To me, this was an act of great bravery and I was so proud.
As the following weeks unfolded and I watched him navigate life with a thick cast around his arm, I marvelled at his resilient spirit and his ability to adapt to his circumstances.
- He laughed every time he awkwardly had to pull his shirt over his head
- He had no problems asking me to help him put on his socks
- He fully embraced that he couldn’t play Xbox, and instead, spent way more time reading
- And I never once heard him complain about the inconvenience
His resilient spirit and adaptable attitude taught me a lot about my own brokenness. Because the truth is, I am broken too.
It may not be the kind of brokenness that appears obvious on an x-ray scan.
It’s definitely not the kind of brokenness that a highly trained Surgeon can realign with pins.
But it is brokenness none-the-less.
- It’s a brokenness that scars
- It’s a brokenness that forces adaptation
- And it’s a brokenness that feels devastating in the moment every time I have to “unregister” from life: I can’t do what I want, I’m forced to simplify and I’m incapable of having any control over the situation
Whether it’s financial crisis, marital struggle, relational tension, faith turmoil, physical aliments, vocational disruptions, parenting drama, we all have stuff in life that breaks — breaks down, breaks up, breaks apart or breaks open. We all have brokenness.
And in our brokenness, there we are: raw, real, human, exposed, vulnerable and broken.
But as my son so beautifully demonstrated …
- To see optimism in the midst of brokenness is an act of bravery
- To ask for help in the midst of brokenness is a demonstration of strength
- To embrace what new joy might emerge through the brokenness is a gift
- And to remain hopeful in the midst of it all is the only way to walk out the journey
He discovered how much of a cheerleader he can be for others while he watched his brother play hockey from the sidelines.
Be a cheerleader for others.
He realized the types of friends he has by talking about his journey with those around him.
Share your story. Welcome your friends into the journey.
He recognized that the world does not end when something hard happens. He must keep going.
Be adaptable. Find resilience. Look for strength to emerge in the places you never expected and keep moving forward.
Brokenness is not something to shy away from; it is something to embrace because we are all broken.
- Brokenness is an opportunity for the strength of other people to carry you
- Brokenness is an opportunity for rest, for renewal, for reinvention
- Brokenness is an opportunity for change and change is what makes us stronger
Because beauty can be found in the brokenness.
The last thing the Doctor said to my son before they rolled him into surgery was this:
“No need to worry, little buddy. When broken bones mend, they heal back stronger than before.”
And the same can be said for our brokenness too.