BEAUTY IN BROKEN PLACES
Today, I was walking my little fur babies, when they led me onto the opposite side of the street to discover something new. As we putzed along, I came upon a cracked, really uneven part of the sidewalk. As I started to navigate my way around, I realized that someone had transformed it into a work of art. With cement and broken pieces of ceramic tile, they filled the cracked, uneven sidewalk with a beautiful mosaic.
As I put more thought into the sidewalk’s artful transformation, my heart smiled upon the vision of the artist. While most saw imperfection, the artist saw an opportunity to take the sidewalk as it was and add to it’s beauty. They didn’t tear the damaged part of the sidewalk out and lay new concrete. No, they took what was there and created an opportunity for it to be beautiful once again.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us that “He (God, that is) makes all things beautiful in His time.” He didn’t say “some things” or “this thing and not that thing.” No, He said, “EVERYTHING.” A crack in a sidewalk doesn’t mean the end of something, it could actually mean a new, bigger, better beginning or a more interesting arc to it’s story.
In life, we live and learn. And, often times, those lessons learned weren’t easy on the heart. In the process of learning that lesson, we might have hurt someone, caused someone else or even ourselves embarrassment or did something that in some way set us back. But, in the words of Joel Osteen, “A setback is an opportunity to make an even bigger comeback.”
When we scratch that brand new kitchen table, it’s not ruined. It has character. There’s a story to that scratch just like I know there’s a story to that crack in the sidewalk turned beautiful mosaic in my neighborhood. I’m so often encouraged by words of precious people in my life who are in recovery for drug or alcohol addiction. They have to make peace with their past in order to move forward with their future. They know they cannot erase the things they did or said when they were battling addiction, but, in recovery, they’re working hard to stay sober and use their story to help someone else get sober, too.
I love how God takes our junk and turns it into a treasure. It gives me unending hope. My friend, Big E Cumming loves to find old things and give them life again. He’s got an eye, just like the mosaic artist in my neighborhood, for taking something with a crack or scratch or dent and making it beautiful. Because, you see, the key is this… it was always beautiful- crack, scratch, dent and all. But, it takes a person with a scratch and dent in their own life to appreciate the beauty in its imperfection. Last I checked, we all have our fair share or scratches and dents, and, if you don’t, you’re not living.
I hope that today, we’ll embrace one another’s imperfections in a way that gives great hope for our futures. And, I pray that we’ll not only have compassion for someone’s history but a passion to embrace it and see it to it’s full potential. Because, when we share our stories (also know as cracks, scratches and dents), we give other people permission to do the same. As a community, we become stronger and we’re able to navigate through life with more life’s experience than just our own.
Never be ashamed of your past. It’s more beautiful than you think. And, in God’s words, “He makes EVERYTHING beautiful in HIS time.” Write that on your heart today and stand tall. You’ve earned your stripes, and you should work them like you’re on the runway in Milan. I know I am. So, if you see me struttin’ through the neighborhood like Gisele and I look more like a gazelle, well, you’ll know why.
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