The quality of being broken

Looking back on the past few blogs I feel I have been looking at brokenness with wide brush strokes and I haven’t actually given a definition or looked at exactly what brokenness really is if we reduce it down to its core.

I feel like i’ve set myself an impossible task here. Is it even possible to boil brokenness down to one definition? The Collins English Dictionary seems to think so, as quoted above. I wonder if we can build on that quality of being broken. I would agree that there is a vulnerable quality to being broken. But when I think on the word brokenness, so much more comes to mind. To help on this I asked a few friends what they thought brokenness was for them. Here are a few of their responses...

  • It’s when someone is not as they should be. They have lost their shape and don’t function as they were designed to.
  • It’s when you feel out of character where everything has been stripped from you.
  • It’s when something is separated into two or more pieces.
  • It’s a state of being, where we come to a place and acknowledge that restoration and healing is needed. Often requires yielding in trust on a path to wholeness.
  • It’s when you’re at the end of the road, feeling isolated, devoid of energy, without hope, completely vulnerable, having tried everything you can think of to remedy the situation but without success.
  • It’s when you are deeply scarred but functional, imperfect when compared with your perception of others, vulnerable in the cracks/scars, walking an unexpected path, but importantly able to deeply relate to others who are broken.

I could go on with the amazing responses that I received. A lot of the responses really resonated with me but the last one struck a chord with me. We are ‘deeply scared but functional.’ I think this the stage we all long for. Don’t we start of in a place recognising that we feel out of character which leaves us feeling stripped and vulnerable. We become aware of how separated and isolated from those around us as well as to ourselves. But then we get to this stage whereby we bring in others whom we trust and love. We need them so much at this point. They are like our lifeline. Holding our hand on this rough path in the hope that we will reach a safe landing.

Another close friend went on to say that...

Brokenness can become the glue that forms strong bonds with others

Like a bone that breaks and heals stronger. It can be the same with trauma and if you are connected with someone in the process, it’s likely a stronger bond with develop than a social connection. This bond can be seen like a mosaic formed from broken imperfect tiles connected together - it is much more beautiful than organised square tiles on a wall.

I would agree that when broken people meet and share in their brokenness (much like the women I mentioned in my last blog from Peaced Together) there is an incredible healing that can start. But in order to do that, you have to be wiling to put yourself out there - to be vulnerable with another.

How does one go about starting this? I believe it takes a mustering of strength in ones ability to be incredibly assertive - of being self assured knowing that the other will hold your brokenness with care. This won’t work every time but we have to take that step of faith sometimes.

Trying to reach out for support can, on occasion feel a bit like broken record - repeating your attempts to connect with others and often met with resistance - either people don’t see your brokenness or they don’t understand. Very rarely is it because they don’t care. But you keep trying non the less. A vinyl record has a surface which, when scratched would lead the needle of a record player to loop over the same few seconds of the recording indefinitely. It can feel like that when we know we have tried as hard as we can and still we are just stuck on loop feeling the same old feelings and trying the same old things but to no avail.

Brokenness can be so painful that we feel we don’t have what it takes to get ourselves out of that loop. However, there is always a glint of hope. Like a hand coming down and lifting of that needle and replacing the record and a new sweet soundtrack. It’s that person who gets it. Who knows the pain. Who can feel what we feel and know that it’s okay. They can be with you in that dark place, without judgment, without an agenda just empathy and love and support. I know for me it has been a select few people who have helped me change that record a few times. One of those has been God, in fact he’s changed the record more times than i’m probably aware of.


Prayer/ ponder point:

  • What do you feel is on loop in your life and how can you go about lifting of the needle to see a change?