A Meditation on Bringing What’s Broken

adjective: broken

having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order. smashed, shattered, fragmented, splintered, crushed, snapped; in bits, in pieces; destroyed, disintegrated; cracked, split

(of a relationship) ended, such as through infidelity.”a broken marriage”

failed, ended “a broken marriage”denoting a family in which the parents are divorced or separated.”he grew up poor in a broken family”
(of an agreement or promise) not observed by one of the parties involved.

of a person) having given up all hope; despairing.”he went to his grave a broken man”beaten, subdued; demoralized, dispirited, discouraged, crushed, humbled; dishonored, ruined “he was left a broken man”

antonyms: whole, kept, honored

synonyms: flouted, violated, infringed, contravened, disregarded, ignored, unkept “broken promises”

Last night I came home to find all of the carefully dyed Easter eggs smashed to bits.

Bodhi (my dog) had gotten bored when we were out and decided to entertain himself by destroying the eggs I’d already spent hours on. Methodically and lovingly blowing out the yolks to be saved for cooking while retaining the perfectly fragile shells, I thought my family would transform them into ornaments this Easter afternoon.

When  I saw them strewn across the dining room floor, I immediately started to cry. And I didn’t stop. I cried for hours. I cried myself to sleep. I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and cried some more. When I still hadn’t stopped at 5:30 a.m. I took a walk around town. It started rain about 6, so I headed back home, still crying. I cried myself to sleep a second time and when I woke around ten, I started crying all over again when I realized I wouldn’t have time to get ready and make it to Easter services.

To understand the magnitude of the grief this incident unleashed in me, you need a little background.

My family has always made a pretty big deal of coloring the eggs. I vividly remember childhood Easters when my Indiana cousins would come for Easter.  We’d color eggs on Saturday evenings before settling in on blanket pallets, nine people packed into our double wide giggling and whispering ourselves to sleep.

You see, the Easter Bunny hides the real eggs in the house for you to find Easter morning, except for the prettiest one which is saved special for grandma in the fridge.

Long past the days when other kids had stopped doing that kind of thing, after Grandma Harness passed away and the Indiana cousins stopped coming, Mom and I still colored eggs together every year.

When my daughters were born, it was a thing I couldn’t wait to do with them. We had several years of fun making sweet memories for them and for us.

But then the fighting started, and for some reason, Easter was the time for more than one epic battle between their father and I. We always managed to be happy and smiling and grateful Easter morning, glowing over our beautiful daughters who, in time, we’d come to love much more than we loved each other.

We looked like the perfect family on Easter Sunday mornings, and we felt it too. The resurrection story is a powerful, powerful thing, and it will make you believe you can overcome anything. Every Easter, that hope was renewed.

When people finally got wind of the divorce, more than one person expressed shock and disappointment that the family that looked so shiny was coming undone. No one was more disappointed than we were. We wanted it badly. And having grown up in the Baptist church, I was conditioned to believe divorce was pretty high up there on the nearly unpardonable sin list.

Our first Easter after the divorce, I was determined to establish new traditions. I wanted to make our new house a home, and I wanted to feel that resurrection hope I so desperately needed.  With the help of some dear friends, we got together to dye and hunt some eggs. The girls were older now, 9 and 12 and without their inborn artistic drive and the encouragement of some artsy adults they admired, might’ve thought themselves too big for such.

To my delight, they loved it.  We created beautiful egg ornaments together which hang year- round on our seriously over-scaled chandelier.  It’s gaudy and beautiful, and the grace of those friends saved me from despair that first year.

Though unspoken and unwritten, I’d given their dad custody of the church in the divorce, so Easter Sunday morning, they got dressed up, and I got dressed up.  He came to pick them up, and I snapped a couple of photos of the three of them, and stayed home with my broken heart waiting for him to bring them back so we could go have our traditional Sunday lunch with my parents without him for the very first time.

The second year, a new group of friends participated. My new love Boone and his musical partner  Nick who was in town from Australia blew yolks from eggs for the very first time. We laughed a bunch. Lilly invited a friend. I made omelettes so delicious that everyone still talks about them. I don’t remember Easter morning.

And that brings us to the third. Time slipped away. With spring break falling like it did and commitments here and there, we didn’t realize all the Saturdays were booked, so me and my beloved best friend, who has a beautiful daughter of her own now, tried for a Tuesday night. It threatened rain, but we got the eggs hidden and hunted. The omelettes would take too much time, so she brought dinner. Josie had a raging head and stomach ache but persevered as best she could (mostly because she knew how much it meant to me).  We’d found a new method for blowing out the eggs on youtube which proved trickier than we’d hoped. We burst a couple of eggs as part of the learning curve, and though the dyes turned out more brilliantly than ever before, we decided to call it a night. Lesson learned- do this on a weekend.

With the girls at their Dad’s through noon on Easter, I decided we’d finish up the project Easter afternoon at my mom and dad’s house. Missing the kids badly already and wanting to not only preserve our new tradition, but make it even more beautiful this year, I sat down Saturday after yoga (when I thought I’d be most zen) to painstakingly blow out the remainder of the yolks so we’d be able to draw and paint and bead without fussing over that step.

When I finished, I was so happy and full of Easter spirit, I looked up some scripture and poetry to put in the eggs we’d hide for mom and dad. I got all the supplies for the next day together and left them on the table.

The devastation I felt when I walked in and saw the eggs all crushed was gut-wrenching. Was I crying for broken eggs? Yes. But I was also crying for broken promises, broken families, broken traditions, broken hearts.

And I cried, and I cried, and I cried. My wonderful, kind husband tried everything to comfort me. Facing these times alone is unfathomable, but I also cried for him.  I cried for the joy and gratitude for him, but  I also cried in pain for him- wishing myself a less weary woman so I could love him as well as I believe he deserves.

Some of you will have read my “Meditation on Easter Dresses” posted earlier this week on Facebook and my blog.  In essence, it speaks to the value of bringing one’s best to God, and I truly believe in that practice.

But what came to me again and again as I wept was that we have to bring the brokenness too. We have to bring the brokenness to God.

That’s the harder part for me. It’s harder than bringing respect and reverence and beauty- your Sunday best.

The Friday and Saturday stuff is so ugly. I don’t want God to look at it. I don’t even want to look at it. I want to rush to try and make everything beautiful as fast as possible. Bottle up those tears. Get back to the pretty parts of love.

You see I want resurrection, but I don’t care for crucifixion. Forgetting, or more aptly, DENYING the truth that there can be no Easter without Good Friday is perhaps my most consistent stumbling block.

So my practice this Eastertide is to bring my brokenness before my best, to bring confession before alms, trusting that God wants and loves it all. God can take us from “demoralized, crushed, humbled and ruined” to “whole, kept, honored”. Remembering this today is a step toward “re-member- ing”,  putting back together what’s been broken in me.

Hallelujah.  Though I have not yet risen, I am rising.


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