There’s a hinge on one of the cabinet doors in my kitchen that is loose. And as a result, the door doesn’t close properly. It needs repair.
So does the shutter that got ripped off the side of my house in a storm last week. And the shed in my backyard that is crumbling from years of neglect (although the sweet creamsicle-orange kitty that has taken up sometimes residence in it doesn’t seem to mind). And the spot on my deck where the former owners thought it would be a brilliant idea (sarcasm font) to stack up 30-some concrete blocks around a whole lot of dirt and build up a “garden” on the deck.
Because this is what it is to be a home owner–a series of repairs. There is always something breaking, something wearing out, something on the fritz. Lucky me, I’ve got some good folks around who help with the things I can’t figure out, and a dad who isn’t too far away and doesn’t mind doing what he can either.
This morning I had a long overdue conversation with a dear friend–we live ten hours apart and haven’t talked nearly enough in the last few months. So it was one of those, “How’s this and how’s that and what’s new?” convos that lasted an hour and went super fast and wasn’t nearly long enough.
We talked about heartache. The things that have left us broken. The things and people that are helping us heal. We talked about how hard it is to trust again after things have shattered and how fear is often so much easier to listen to than hope. Especially when it comes to relationships and the possibility of being fulfilled and joyful again.
“Rupture and repair” is the image we settled on for what life often seems like–a series of ruptures and repairs. Like a house, only with a lot more pain and soul-ache and intensity and long-lasting effects.
Rupture is deeply, profoundly painful. It’s what volcanos do, after all. Aortic valves. Cysts. Pipelines. They burst when ill or faulty or active and the result is generally chaos and a long recovery.
Sometimes our souls rupture. Our very beings. Our hearts feel like they might quite literally burst with the anguish or anger that comes with what’s happening and how, after all, do you stem the rushing tide of a ruptured life? How do you put back together whatever’s left in some way that points toward a future?
How do you pull yourself off the floor of your existence, where you’ve fallen and huddled, small and afraid and broken, and stand upright again? With eyes clear enough to see new possibility and a heart whose bruises have healed just enough to imagine love and joy and hope again?
There’s no handyman–or woman–for that y’all. No trip to Lowes for just the right parts. No DIY video on YouTube or Pinterest.
Nope–there is only the slow, steady, determined work of the human spirit–a most tenacious and scrappy spirit if there ever was, when it sets it mind to something.
And there is grace–like a gentle summer rain, falling softly on the parts that ache the most, filling up the cracks and fissures of our souls with its redemptive mercy, and helping us find life again.
And if you’re lucky enough, as I am, to have someone in this with you, to have a helper and support and true companion who will stand with you through it…well, then stop and say “thank you” right now, because this is no small thing.
The breaking will happen again, y’all. Over and over. Because this is what life does. It breaks us. In a thousand ways, both small and mighty. And sometimes it will seem that you cannot survive the breaking.
But you can. You will. Repair is possible, and with every repair, every effort at wholeness, you become, I believe, an even more beautiful version of the person you were made to be in the first place.
The rupturing does not get the last word. Because it is in the repairing that we find what it means to be fully alive, the scars from what has been testaments to strength we didn’t know we had. A promise, of sorts, that on the other side of what we thought would destroy us, is, it turns out, goodness and grace beyond measure.