So he has been gone nearly 10 years, a decade – that seems like a crazy, long amount of time, so much has happened, so many tears alongside the laughter, so much pain followed by amazing and beautiful healing, more loss and new life, the ordinary alongside the extra-ordinary, old faithful friends and lovely, life-giving new friends.
He was part of my life for such a short time. If you drew a time-line of my hopefully 80 years odd he would take up such a short part of it but yet the depth of his impact will always be greater than any other. Loving him and losing him changed me for the rest of my days.
So many lessons that he taught me after he had gone. Lessons of holding on, of forgiveness and grace, of keeping on loving even when it hurts and its hard, of trusting, of choosing life and not bitterness, of identity, of faith, of community. So many beautiful and life-giving lessons which could only have come through the agony, the desperation, the loss, the emptiness. Would I have chosen those lessons over having him here? NO absolutely not! But there wasn’t an either or option, I didn’t get to chose how it played it out I could only walk the path I had been given. I haven’t always walked it well, in fact a lot of the time it has been hideously messy but I have learnt that what God desires most is intimacy with us and the only way that that can happen is through broken lives and mess – it is how the joy comes, where the healing is done and where the lives are transformed.
Ask those that know me well and they will tell you I probably overuse the word “favourite” – I have lots of favourite people and things, but if I had to chose my favourite lesson that I have learnt over the past decade it would be that there is always beauty in the brokenness.
This morning I have woken up with the image of Kintsugi strongly on my heart. I think it is probably God reminding me in the midst of my heart hurting for people I love that he is all about healing, restoration, redemption and transformation. He is whispering in his tenderness the truths that however big the mess is, however great the pain, there is always a way, always.
A while back my lovely boss sent me an email about Kintsugi. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repaired pottery. Broken pottery is repaired with lacquer dusted or mixed with powered gold, silver or platinum. The idea is that the bowl becomes more beautiful for having been broken, that the breakage and repair become part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. There is an embracing of the imperfect and the flawed. I love that image.
Again this morning God is saying to me
“Isn’t that the same way you should view your life and the lives of others around you?”
So often we are ashamed of our brokenness, of the mistakes, of our pasts, of our tragedies. What I love about following Jesus is that he turns it all on its head and views it the opposite way. Messy is the currency God works in.
I love that with Jesus tragedy is not the end. I love that if we let him he can take the pieces of our broken lives and make something new and amazing. I love that he is all about restoration and redemption. I love that, with Jesus, the fact I was a widow at 29 was not the end of the story but maybe just the beginning. I love that the years of pain and agony were not wasted.
I love that with Jesus not one of us is beyond his love – no situation is hopeless with him. No person is beyond his forgiveness, his love and his power.
I love that even when we make the biggest of mistakes or when the unimaginable has happened, there is always a way out, always an answer and always hope with Jesus.
I love that Jesus takes our disappointment and moulds it into something new. Disappointment has been one of my greatest battles – disappointment that my life hasn’t end up how I thought it would but as we let go of the controls and give him the control we are taken on an adventure we could never imagine, way beyond our disappointments.
I love that Jesus never intended us to walk alone. I love that in the most broken of times, when our lives feel in pieces it is often when our relationships with him and with others are forged deeper and stronger. I love those real, authentic and vulnerable relationships, that are such gifts, and are so beautiful – that are always worth the risks they carry.
Life gets messy, our hearts break, our lives at times are shattered but it is never the end of the story– there is such hope and promise in Jesus, that he will take those broken pieces and rebuild it into something new and beautiful.
I am so thankful for those in my life that live this stuff out, who inspire me, whose lives have been broken but who are so incredibly special because of that brokenness, whose stories shine the beauty, who pour into the lives of others with wisdom, compassion and life because of their experiences. I want to always stand on my story and their stories for other people in their brokenness always believing for the beauty.