I Wanted to Tell You a Story
I wanted to tell you a story
as we sat under the tree,
to share a piece of my heart,
a glimpse inside of me.
I mustered up the courage,
dug deep inside my soul,
putting together pieces
to make the picture whole.
I wove humor and sadness,
some moments of madness,
and even a few of my demons to banish.
The highs and the lows,
the peaks and the woes,
until I was utterly stripped to the bone.
You turned and you asked,
“Is that the last
of this tale that you’ve been spinning?”
I said, “My friend,
there is no end.
We are always just beginning.”
Last weekend, I was out walking with my dog Snowball while listening to an online class. At one point, one of the class facilitators asked us to get up from our computers, move around, and arrive at a “broken place,” whatever that meant to us in the moment.
Since I was not sitting in front of a computer and was already moving around, I decided instead to stop moving. It happened that at that very moment I was standing next to a large rock, about four feet long and three feet wide, set on top of another, larger rock. The rock on top was split in two. “Broken” just like the facilitator said. What timing! I sat on the rock. Peered down into the crack, which was speckled with smaller stone chips, twigs, leaves, and other debris.
I wondered what had cause that crack, the split? What was the source of the brokenness? And how did it arrive at here in the first place? There were no other rocks around. I was in the middle of an unused golf course—unused for golfing that is—but very much used by humans for walking and biking and dog play, and by deer and birds and other beings for living.
I looked around and thought, “Isn’t this whole place broken?” The land, once wild, had been cleared to create the golf course and the neighborhood that surrounds it. The paths, once paved with smooth concrete, crumble where earth insists on bursting through. And what about the idea of the golf course itself, perhaps a shattered dream of golfers or the business owner?
Broken on top of broken on top of broken.
I took a picture of the rock and sent it to a friend with the caption, “Fractured Beauty.”
He, not knowing the story of “Broken,” saw the picture and sent back the word: “Reunion.”
With one word, my friend had opened up the possibility of a new story, one where the possibility of regrowth, in whatever mysterious form that would take, exists within the fracture. I looked at the picture again and began to see the brokenness as a longing, like a love story wanting to emerge from the debris in the crack even as the rock could not be put back together into one piece.
Yesterday, I shared the story about this rock with another friend whose relative had just been diagnosed with a terminal illness. She spoke words that I had been feeling a lot lately: "I'm afraid that if I fall apart, I won't be able to pull myself back together again." I asked her, "What if you gave yourself permission to fall apart for the next twenty minutes while I am here with you on the phone?"
Over the course of those twenty minutes, we cried together and also laughed. She shared her sorrow and fear, her frustration and disappointment, and her deep desire for rest even as she had so much to tend to. We talked about how, even though we know it's often the case that there are many opportunities for growth through life's ruptures, it really sucks to be in the midst of the mess of a broken heart, and that it's okay, necessary even, to feel the pain of the fracture. Immersed in brokenness, the possibility of renewal might offer hope and courage to move through. The fractured rock reminds me that sometimes reunion doesn't come by trying to fit the pieces back together, but through nourishment, rest, tenderness, and loving connections in the space between.