This Friday’s guest post brings us the voice of a very dear friend. A woman whose soul is like few others. She is kind, she is generous with her love and friendship, and she is strong. Frelle is here today, reminding us that what has once been broken can be restored to its natural beauty.
Imagine this piece of pottery unbroken, unremarkable, and sufficient for whatever it was designed for. Nothing special.
The process of restoring it with this beautiful gold design is called aggrandizing. The gold accentuates the broken part of the bowl, and makes it much more beautiful than it was before.
When I look at this picture, it reminds me that I am enough.
That I have always been enough and that I am enough now.
I am enough because of my history, not in spite of it. It reminds me there can be beauty that comes from being broken and damaged. Who would have known that repairing a broken bowl would change its appearance from ordinary to extraordinary? Like the bowl, there is opportunity in growing and healing from my past to make me more beautiful than I ever was. I’ve learned that I have more capacity for compassion, I have an ability to see more and deeper, because I know what to look for in someone’s eyes, and know to listen intently to people when they are talking about their emotions. If I hadn’t experienced similar feelings of loss, betrayal, isolation, abandonment, depression, and self-hatred, I wouldn’t have such empathy and feel a personal connection to others’ pain when they are willing to be vulnerable and trust me with where their heart has been. The friendships I have made as a result of these conversations have added immeasurable richness to my life. I’m grateful for the insight that comes from my life experience, the good and the not so good.
Many people feel a profound sense of shame for the difficult circumstances and seasons they’ve been through that cause them to feel damaged and broken. They feel humiliated about being in a situation that made them fall apart and have a need to put themselves back together. They want to hide those parts of their story. They might be willing to remember the lessons they learned from the hard times, but tend to gloss over the broken season where they felt lonely or scared or suffered through grief or depression.
Those universal feelings are regarded as weak, and society tells us they should remain hidden. Yet those feelings are the cords that really connect us. When someone takes a risk and shares their story with you, that identification affects your heart, and you don’t feel so much shame about your own story. C. S. Lewis once said, “Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one!” We’re all so afraid of being real.
Part of my sense of feeling like I am enough right now, just the way I am, comes from those opportunities I have to be real with others. To think maybe the journey that has brought me here can have a redemptive aspect for others. I am certainly still healing from the pain in my life, I have some fresh wounds and some barely healed scars. The lyrics from this song apply directly to my life even this week:
“I’ve been shot down and I’ve been torn apart
Living out songs about a broken heart
Blinding ambition, stabbing in the dark
And waiting for a better life to start
With every turn we learn to take it slow
Redemption waiting further down the road
We change and everything is temporal
And time will tell us where we’ve got to go”
– The Trews – “One by One”
But even as I’m waiting for a better life to start, I can provide others with encouragement, validation, and help them feel less alone in their darkest moments. I can choose to be brave and speak my truth. I can choose to not dwell on how hard things have been, to take care of myself, to take it slow, be patient with myself as I recover and heal, and to try to use the lessons I’ve been taught by the universe to help others.
Didn’t I tell you that she was amazing?