There’s something sticky on the door knob. The blood of some poor gummy bear? The chocolatey flesh of some hapless bunny? I cringe as I touch the tacky sweet evidence of Son’s subterfuge.
I wipe my hand down already breakfast-and-booger-splattered jeans.
I tried to get dressed this morning. Pausing in the doorway with my hand on the sticky knob, I momentarily wonder why? Why did I bother? It’s not even 9am and I already look haggard.
My heart sinks a little lower. I don’t even have the energy to be angry.
Fortifying myself for yet another small trauma, I follow the trail of carnage.
It leads to the stack of books next to my bed. And the lotion bottle. The evidence suggests it has been tampered with. And by evidence, I mean, scented goo. Everywhere. Just… it’s on everything. Yet somehow I know in my heart that the worst is yet to come. Setting my teeth, I grip the rumpled comforter. I pull.
I half expect to see a horse head bleeding up at me. Maybe a gummy horse head. My fears aren’t far off. Chocolate hand prints, spit dribbles, and the spat out remains of a few pulverized almonds. All over the white sheets. Like a Willy-Wonkan forensic nightmare.
It’s clear: Evil has been done in these dark times.
This is my Monday. Only fractionally better than Sunday.
I spent Sunday morning on the floor of the church kitchen. Tucked in between the trash can and the industrial ice maker. I cried long overdue tears.
I courageously gave corporate worship a fighting chance, my best attempt, but as the priest prayed, “Lord, to You all hearts are open and all desires known, and from You no secrets are hidden…” my secret tears burst their dam. I barely made it to the back pew for the tissue box before delicate tear spillage was turning into ugly choking sobbage. Clearly there would be no worship I could offer the Lord but my weary spent soul’s utter brokenness. Ah, but he already knew. To him all hearts are open. So he prepared the quietness of the kitchen floor.
Sometimes the Sabbath is for the celebration of the communal body. Sometimes it’s for victory songs and hospitality tables and children making craft pages with glue sticks. Sometimes it’s for the holy work of putting the kids in nursery and breaking down completely.
So here I am. Weeping with abandon over every small and large thing. And somewhere between the nose blowing I say, “Thank you, Jesus, for sanctifying this little square of red-brown tile. This tiny corner next to the walk-in freezer is a tabernacle. This is holy ground.” And I partake deeply from the sacramental box of Kleenex. The Kleenex of Christ, pulled out for us and for many.
I am not enough. That is so abundantly clear. Also clear to me, as I sob over the sound of a rousing congregational hymn, is that he so often makes enough out of not enough. He makes food for 5000 out of a few hamburger buns and fish sticks. And there’s food enough, but now there’s also wonder! You, Lord, break Not Enough open and pass it around. And it always makes ends meet. Broken ends always meet. Always. This is the essential mystery at the heart of the whole story… that when things are broken and Jesus is in the pieces, we get more, not less.
In my house when we break something, we cry in a voice of victory, “One less thing to move!!!” It started when we really were about to move. Now it is just part of the liturgy of our family life. A little ritual to lighten the sense of loss.
But that’s the magic, right? That the broken thing brings with it lightness. And when we enter into our own broken places willingly (or maybe unwillingly, but at least we show up) we leave lighter.
It took a full church service worth of tears and snot to find the lightness. The lightness of being beloved in the middle of broken-heartedness. But I found it. In tiny fragments. Tiny flecks of hope like sunlight on dust particles in the air, beautifying the whole view.
Here’s an example of the More than comes from Broken places: I couldn’t write about brokenness without walking my own miles here. God never wastes a single thing. He’s the original recycler. There are just zero throwaway things in the Kingdom. He writes his best stories in the margins with the marginalized. He paints the most beautiful murals in the mess. If only we trust him with the pieces and believe in the promise of the process: That he makes all things new.
Monday greeted me with more of life’s little traumas.
My very forgetful heart had already lost it’s grip on the hopes I clung too on the kitchen floor 24 hours ago.
I desperately thrashed out to my people. I am the queen of hyperbole when I’m desperate and I wailed, “I don’t want to go on! I quit! This is the end!”
They faithfully offered me the sacramental Kleenex. Again. We joined hands of communion in the sacred space of the Chat Thread. Together we Re-Membered the fragmented hope we have received. The hope that every single broken thing—me and you and the broken hope and the chocolate spattered sheets—will be redeemed. Will be enough. Will multiply into more. Will produce wonder. Will be washed.
And so, I begin stripping the bed.