I’m going to start writing on a weekly basis, now that I’m entering retirement from my “job”. I’ve been a Financial Advisor for 38 years. Had my own advisory business. And I really enjoyed it, the helping people part, which was most of it. The dealing with markets/money part not so much. But it all worked out and I’m in a position now to pursue my Spiritual Direction practice, with you, which is what I want to do in this next phase of my life. Anyway here’s what I want to write about today: brokenness.
Sounds kind of negative, I know. But hear me out. It will be ok, I promise you.
We all deal with brokenness. Things that don’t work out, leaving us disappointed… broken. I’m not talking about Humpty-Dumpty falling apart bad experience broken. More like broken heart, or things didn’t work out as planned broken. Sometimes they come in bunches too, all at once, which can be really hard to deal with. But there’s something good about brokenness, and that’s what I want to get to.
First though an example from my own life. Joy and I moved from the East coast to New Mexico last July. We’d fallen in love with this area during my training to be a Spiritual Director, which took place at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, in Northern NM. It’s a fascinating and beautiful place, and very spiritual. I’ll post some pictures later. We were very excited about the move. We’d found a house here which was everything we dreamed of, by the grace of God. But I knew there were some downsides. Leaving my kids and grandkids behind, leaving my Faith Community behind, starting fresh in a totally new, and rather remote by the way, place. We’d been here about 6 or 7 months when it all hit me one day: I’m dealing with a lot of brokenness. And the thing is I was in great spirits. This did not come from a dark place. It was just very real.
So what did I need to face? At the time the Hospice Volunteer work I was doing wasn’t working out the way I’d envisioned. I couldn’t find a good faith community to be part of. And I was missing my kids/GC’s terribly. It all felt kinda broken, like “OMG what did I do?” Did I get depressed about it? No. Did I feel like giving up? No. Was I all charged up and ready to “solve” this stuff? No. I was somewhere else. Somewhere that felt like “waiting” was needed. But I felt good, like this is where I was supposed to be and I needed to get real about it before good things would start to happen.
So what did I do? I thought about each one of my broken things. I prayed over them. I talked to my own Spiritual Director about what I was experiencing. I shared it all with Joy, my rock of support. Mainly, I asked God for help. That’s the place I was, and that’s the place I needed to be.
I started to get some clarity. I started trying new things. I called the local hospital, just out of the blue, and the Chaplain was thrilled to give me a “job” as assistant chaplain. Here I could visit and talk with and listen to people in need and pray with them if they wanted. It’s worked out beyond my expectations. Then Joy and I decided to rent a beach house in August near the kids in Old Saybrook. If they can’t come here right now, fine, we’ll go to them. And next year they promise to come here and see how incredible this place really is. Then I found a church near me I feel comfortable with after a lot of trial and error. That’s the thing about brokenness – it’s filled with a lot of trial and error. But I think that’s necessary. That’s trying, and trying is paramount when you’re feeling brokenness. One can give up or in, or one can try. You gotta try new things when the old aren’t working out as planned.
So there’s growth in the midst of this “brokenness”. In fact, it might be more like tilling (“breaking”) the soil. Maybe it’s just that new seeds need to be planted and things will grow… at the right time. All in good time as they say. Maybe this is all a prelude to a new spiritual awakening. Anyway I’m feeling like that’s what’s happening.
I needed to be in that place of brokenness first though. I needed to recognize it and let it happen. With the grace of God it did and things are so much better now. It took time, it took prayer, it took help from the right people, and acceptance. Acceptance of where I was.
I invite you to think about your own brokenness. Think of it as a very human, natural thing. Face it squarely. Make it your friend. Ultimately it is an opportunity for growth. And growth about becoming who we are. Thank you for reading.
Your comments are welcome.