I am fragile. My heart has been known to break; my feelings get hurt; I bleed when I am cut.
The consolation: I’m not the only one. We are all broken, chipped, in some way or another. We resist it, this brokenness, because it means we’re vulnerable. But stained glass windows are made of pieces that have been shattered, cut, splintered. We may feel like panes of glass carelessly smashed, but maybe that’s the only way we’ll become the rose window in the house of God.
Loss breaks me. Death shatters me. The pieces fall and scatter and I can’t imagine how they’ll ever fit together again. Maybe they aren’t supposed to. Chips are inevitable. I’ve spent twenty-one years clutching the shards of my dad’s death. Once a year I open my hands, I stop clutching, and I see the wounds, fresh and bleeding. The day comes and goes, the wounds open and heal. I am glass; I hold glass. I break again.
Part of me wants to let go, to empty the shards into the nearest dustbin, to clean the wounds, and, once healed, acknowledge the scars as an oddity on my otherwise beautiful hands. But I can’t do it. I am not the man at Bethesda who, when asked if he wants to be made well, answers that he has tried to heal. No, in this case, the healing would be worse; it is not a wellness I am willing to accept.
Rather, my shattered spirit has become my offering. It is what I have to give, this brokenness.
And perhaps we are not really whole unless we are chipped.