Monday, January 12, 2015

A Broken Vase, a metaphor.... Part One

Wow, has it been forever since I last wrote a blog post! Quick update: school is going well for both boys, fighting the normal colds that come with the Winter season and we're still a happy family! Woohoo!

That said, let's get started!

First off, you start life off as a vase, in perfect condition. (I got this idea from a book cover, but cannot recall the title or author. I'll give credit when and if I ever come across it again!)

Somewhere - sometime - in your life the perfect vase that you used to be, was broken. Life is rough and there are no guarantees that it will be perfect, or even good for that matter.

Life is guaranteed to be tough. It is meant to be. We each go through trials - those sometimes pesky, little rough patches or those deep pits that we may fall into. Each little rough patch causes our smooth surfaces to crack, to chip away in places. Each new trial causes them to get bigger and we begin losing pieces until finally...
We are completely broken, shattered on the ground. It feels as if every single piece of ourselves is left scattered. We feel so alone and scared. We feel as if nothing can possibly pick up our broken pieces and put us back in some semblance of ourselves.

God puts special people in our lives; they can mend us, heal us before we shatter if we allow them to. They can fix our chips and seal our cracks. The problem is that we can be so lost and alone that we have no clue that there are people willing, ready and able to help us! We can be too blinded by our pain, rejection and brokenness that we fail to see anyone. They may as well be invisible for all our self-absorption and self-pity. Speaking of alone.....

How many people are on this earth, right now? Do you know?

There are over 7 BILLION people breathing on this earth, right now!

Do you think that it is even remotely possible that there is NO ONE else who has a snibbet or an idea of the pain you are feeling? The feelings of being lost and alone, feeling rejected or whatever else you may be feeling? Chances are that you pass one person on the sidewalk, the streets, the aisles in the supermarket each day or week that knows how you feel. They may have gone through your trials, or some similar themselves. 

We are a private people when it comes to deep hurts. A lot of times we fear other's opinions of us, of how we live, how we act, how we view life. We fear their judgements.

NEWS FLASH: IT DOESN'T MATTER! Their opinions do not matter. Only two opinions really matter and that is your own opinion and God's. That is it. 

This is something that I deal with constantly. I have a fear of socializing. I am way too concerned and worried about those pesky opinions and can be so blinded by my fears that I don't always see people's true reactions and feelings for me. It isn't easy and it is always a struggle. 

My fear comes from my experiences in life. Rejection by people I cared about, stinging and false (!) accusations against me, losing friends through accidents.... They all take their toll on our whole beings. I've been physically beaten down repeatedly and even worse, I let it happen. 

It takes a lot for me to put my trust in others for these reasons. If you are a close friend of mine, consider yourself to have my complete trust and loyalty. It is not lightly given by any means!

Okay, back to the matter at hand.... 

Some people seem to have kept their vase spotless and unbroken, as they skip through what we view as the "Fairy Tale Trail of Life." Their lives seem perfect. Their relationships seem perfect. They must never have had to struggle or fight for anything in their lives, we think. They have everything - a nice, big house, a new car, a gargantuan group of close friends, even an overflowing bank account. (Are we judging? Yes.) 

Look closer. Is that.... is that a crack I see? Maybe it is just the light. Look again. They have chips, cracks; they possibly have even been painted over. 

They think, "These cracks must be hidden, tucked away! No one can see them!"  
"What will people think if they see me imperfect?" 

They are empty, just like we are. Lost. Lonely. They have become masters as hiding their blemishes and brokenness behind their perfectly painted masks. If you look really, really closely, you can just barely see the hairline fractures and carefully covered chips. 

We are all fragile vases. We all have chips, cracks, even some holes here and there. It is okay! Some of have shattered, some are just one tiny ding away from completely shattering. Perfection is just an illusion, a disheartening facade really. We can easily find ways to pretend, but someone will always see through to the bitter, broken shell.

There are even more people who just seem to never catch a break. They go from struggle to struggle to struggle, seemingly without breaks. They manage to climb out of the sinkhole only to find themselves tumbling right back in. Their vases are barely held together with string and sticky tape and everywhere they go, their teeny pieces of themselves are left behind; a trail of chips and dings. 

To certain people, when the light is just right, the special people that God has put in our lives will see this nearly invisible trail and follow it. They gather up the pieces. 

Will you see them, or will you be blinded by your own struggles and continue to battle alone?

The choice is your own. What happens to a shattered vase, when no one steps in to fix it? It is just pieces of a once beautiful vase that now lies in pieces. We are a lonely, empty pile of ceramic. You can put a band-aid on it, or find a more permanent solution. 

Read Jeremiah 18:2-6. I'll be back with more soon. Can the vase ever be fixed?

God's blessings, my friends.

Jeremiah 18:2-3
“Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel...'