• author
    • Stacey Robinson

    • November 29, 2013 in Columnists

    Unbroken enough

    My refrigerator is broken. A year ago, I reported on its state of disrepair. And now, well, it’s still kinda broken. I called the repair guy way back when – he came out, fiddled around for a minute or ten, turned the temperature dial inside a notch or two and charged me a bazillion dollars.

    I swear I had fiddled with that dial all on my own. Apparently, I have no patience and the refrigerator does not respond instantaneously. And now, it’s (apparently) still not entirely repaired. These days, it’s running a little too cold. Sometimes, the spinach develops a few ice crystals and the strawberries are a tiny bit frozen. I will say, everything keeps a little longer, which is good.

    All that said, I am afraid to fiddle with the stupid (read: malevolent and capricious) dial again. I am not quite sure that my refrigerator will not stick out its metaphorical tongue at me and give up the ghost. So I put up with a mostly unbroken refrigerator and let the vinaigrette breathe a bit before dressing my salad.

    Mostly unbroken, just like, well – me.

    Oh, good God. Did I just write that? Oh lord, I do believe I did.

    *Waits a minute, one eye shut, the other squinting upward, ready for the bolt of lightening from above.*

    *Waits another minute, ready for the earth to open up and swallow me whole.*

    *Breathes again.*
    *Stands up straight.*

    Yup. Me. Mostly unbroken.

    Who’d’a thunk it?

    It feels as if I have spent most of life feeling broken. Mostly broken. Shattered at times. Damaged and disconnected and less than. I have been haunted by demons and the ghosts in my head, their voices whispering lies and howling contempt.

    I have believed every single one of them.

    I spent a fair amount of time trying to drown them out. I hid inside a bottle for a couple of decades, and, even in the midst of my drinking, when that didn’t work (because it never worked, not once), I grasped other straws of self destruction. Pick one. Any one. It didn’t matter. I’d use anything I could find, any easy, path-of-least resistance way that would shut those voices up, lock them away. Fix me. Make me whole.

    It never worked. Ever. All it did was feed those demons, who tore at me ceaselessly, who broke me and battered me and roared in their triumph.

    I am grateful beyond belief for my sobriety.

    I spent way too much time listening for those seductive whispers, straining to hear the pale voices of brokenness and damage. Even sober. Even sober, I was so used to being broken, had learned the lesson of their lies all too well. It was so much easier to believe in my brokenness.

    But I was released! I was freed from that tiny universe of one, a locked box prison that kept out light and hope. Suddenly, I could move – leap and twirl and dance. And there was you, every single one of you, who taught me how to live a day at a time (an hour, a breath, a heartbeat at a time).

    There was life, full and vibrant and messy and painful, joyous and boring and profound. And love; God, there was love! And hope. After a lifetime of numbness, there was hope at last.

    Still, even then, sober and learning and feeling after an eternity of numbness and ice, still I carried my brokenness with me, and I listened for the voices only I could hear. It was getting harder to do, though. The strain was getting wearisome; the shattered and broken bits of me that I clung to were becoming unbearably heavy. I longed to put them all down. Mostly. In theory. I am stubborn and crave the comfort I find in the familiar. But I could try, maybe. I could trust – that I could be made whole, even a little bit at a time. A day, an hour, a breath, a heartbeat. I could believe, maybe just enough, that there was hope and grace, even for me.

    Life is messy beyond belief, and full. It holds everything – absolutely everything. I am humbled by its bounties, graced by its blessings. It is not all good, mind you, not all sunshine and roses. There is death and sadness, loss, disappointment. It is, after all, life.

    And maybe, just maybe, not all at once, but little by little, I will lay my brokenness down. I will let those pieces fall by the wayside, slipping through my fingers and I will not feel their loss like a sharp absence. Perhaps I will let them lay where they fall, and I will walk on, lighter. Less broken by one (and then another and another), so that one day, one glorious day, filled to overflowing with gratitude and blessings, on that unimaginable day, I would realize, in the fullness of life –

    I am, mostly, unbroken. I am forever, grateful.

    Merry Thanksgiving to all. May we all find healing and grace to lay down our own bits of brokenness. Blessings of light and love, enough to fill the world. Thank you, God, for the gift of wonder and joy, and the miracle of hope.

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