"You can be broken or you can be broken open. The choice is yours."
Joy for Beginners, by Erica Bauermeister
While I wasn't writing this summer, I was very, very busy. Fortunately in the midst of the madness, were some marvelous times of love and refreshment for my soul. I believe God loves a party (see Jesus' first miracle) and He made sure to punctuate my life with just such celebrations every so often so that I wouldn't become so mired in responsibility that I was unable to move ahead. One such celebration was the long anticipated wedding of our dear Jocelyn.
Jocelyn has been part of our lives since before Hunky was in ministry. We've watched her grow and change and mature for decades. She and her family have traveled with us through youth ministry and beyond Literally across the entire continent, we have stayed together in heart. It was sheer joy to not only attend the wedding, but for Hunky to officiate such a day. It was jubilant, indeed, and there was not one thing in this world that would have kept me from diving into the festivity headlong.
Still, a little tendril of fear crept through my joy as we drew closer to the event. We have been back to visit Florida several times since leaving, but when we go, we normally don't say much about it so that we can relax and enjoy each other rather than running here and there keeping appointments. One other time we have returned knowing intentionally that we would see many people from our "other life" and that has been a few years gone by. I knew I was going to see people that I might not have chosen to see again. I also knew, that I didn't want to feel again all the ugliness and hurt. I didn't want to become lost in that after so much newness and beauty had been sown in my heart. I prayed desperately. I asked others to pray with me, and they did, faithfully. I wanted to not just smile and "play nice." I wanted to love and be free of all those chains once and for all.
My Abba, oh my generous Abba, He outdid Himself again. Not only was I genuinely joy filled, and as usual, on the edge of happy tears for the entire two days, but when I didn't just see, but spoke with, in-depth, those who were instrumental in our leaving, I felt nothing but genuine sorrow at what continued to fall apart later. There was a time when I truly desired for others to hurt as I had been hurt, but what has been revealed is that I no longer wish that type of brokenness on anyone. What was one of the most intensely painful portions of my life is over. I am the better for both the breaking and the remaining broken. I have stopped trying to put back all the pieces of what was shattered and chosen instead to remain as I am: tender, fragile, increasingly aware that the beauty of each moment is what matters because the next moment has no guarantees.
Three years ago I asked the question: What'll I Do? I think some part of me has been waiting for that question to be answered every day since then. I know the answer now. I choose to stay broken open. I choose beauty and joy and love and grace and peace and the beautiful, glorious lusciousness of life without anger or bitterness. I choose to let go and allow God to work what He wills and how He wills it, even it breaks my heart all over again in the process. I choose. And He fills my hands with Shining Glory, my heart with Love and my broken life with Riches that a rigid, whole vessel could never contain.