Laura Rorem is a member of Resurrection Lutheran Church. (Courtesy of Laura Rorem)

Laura Rorem is a member of Resurrection Lutheran Church. (Courtesy of Laura Rorem)

Living and Growing: The beauty of brokeness

Panicked, I feverishly wandered into my mother’s sewing room looking for her. I could not find her, but her sewing machine was beckoning me to sew. I had no desire to sew, but the machine kept calling.

Reluctantly I obliged, but I could not make the seams straight, like mom’s. The harder I tried, the more crooked the seams! With each attempt and each failure, the sewing machine began to grow bigger and bigger until it filled the entire room with me suffocating claustrophobically in the corner, with no escape. The task was beyond my control! In suffocating fear and brokenness from my failed attempts to succeed, I jolted awake from my fever induced dream, relieved it was just a dream!

To this day, during times of high fever, the same nightmare occurs when I encounter circumstances in my life beyond my comfort zone that feel frustratingly unattainable due to overwhelming obstacles that paralyze me with crushing fear and brokenness. Thankfully I rarely have high fevers, but the dream returned to haunt me during a high fever a few weeks ago.

This time I found myself in a room overpowered by the never ending hatred and brokenness encountered by God’s most vulnerable children; the dehumanizing ridicule and abhorrent rhetoric toward the suffering of others different from us; and the scarcity of gentleness and kindness in the face of pain and need. I felt an overwhelming failure with my attempts to fulfill God’s call to do justice in the world. Brokenness filled the entire room, suffocating me claustrophobically with no escape. I jolted awake feeling panicked, broken and helpless; not so sure it was a dream, but the reality in today’s world of crushing fear and brokenness!

Compelled to find meaning in my dream, I discerned that brokenness, in God’s eyes, is being so crushed by the sin and darkness of the world that I recognize there is no escape but to turn to God.

We all live with brokenness. Our families, friends, community, state, country and world all reflect that truth. It is in our brokenness that we grow and can walk humbly and softly in community with others. It is in community that we find healing, love and kindness. Our brokenness connects us to each other, and brings us to Christ. Sharing our brokenness brings meaning to our experiences, and the connection we make with others. When we share our stories, wholeness, healing and reconciliation can take place.

Whenever we experience brokenness, God’s grace can sustain and mature us. God challenges us to accept people and situations very different from ourselves. When we view someone as broken and un-repairable, we close the door to healing, wholeness and reconciliation.

In a world that seems overpowered by never ending hatred, brokenness, ridicule and dehumanization of others, do we have the desire to practice reconciliation? Do we have the courage to accept people and situations very different from ourselves with hospitality, love and grace? Faith invites all who feel lost and broken to be reconnected! Love is lost in brokenness and restored in reconciliation.

The beauty of brokenness is that reconciliation, healing and wholeness are God’s desired gift for our lives. The Body of Christ is blessed and broken for all of us, we are invited to allow ourselves to be blessed and broken for and with one another.

• Laura Rorem is a member of Resurrection Lutheran Church. She writes to honor Pastor Larry Rorem’s legacy of love, compassion and understanding for all humankind, especially the most vulnerable. Larry wrote for “Living and Growing for almost three decades. “Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Saturday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page.

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