Originally published on Thumpcity.com
The Beauty of the Broken
There is a
brokenness out of which comes the unbroken, a shatteredness out of
which blooms the unshatterable. There is a cry deeper than all sound
whose serrated edges cut the heart as we break open to the place
inside which is unbreakable and whole, while learning to sing."
Recently I went to New York City to see a friend off
on a yearlong sojourn to London where he'll be doing something with junk bonds.
Perhaps it was a misty feeling that I'd miss his mug or maybe there was something
in the air, but the city seemed somehow truly gray and filled with more homeless
and down-on-their-lucks than I'd remembered. In one day we encountered more people
who had broken-spirited demeanors than I'd seen in the entire past year.
There is a beauty to the broken people. The ones with
sharp edges encasing soft underbellies - the sharper the edges, the softer the
underbelly. This thought fled through my consciousness as I watched the people-parade
marching by. But really they were floating more than marching, in a slow-motion
dance to the music only they can hear.
It isn't that time or life or circumstance forgot these
people - that's not the sole source of the haunted jaguar look in their eyes.
It's more that they know life's dirty little secrets and wish they didn't. If
all humans are equipped with a "forgetting device" at birth, theirs
are defective. They are cursed with the dubious gift of memory. They remember
only the terrible and forget the joyful. For them, wires and buttons are crossed
causing them to go through life seeking solutions, cures, chasing false dreams
- all the while getting ever more tangled and snarled with each little death
But still they do keep hoping against all reason and
logic. And therein lies the beauty. That hope is impossible to kill. Even if
they end their own lives out of surface hopelessness and desperation - in that
one final irreversible act there's a kind of twisted hope - to be seen. I have
this theory that it isn't just love that makes this pupil-less green-blue eye
go around; it's an aching desire to be known. That connects us and separates
us and keeps us real. Love is merely the oil that lubricates the gears coating
us all smoothly in a rich, dark, liquid smoothness. Hope is the real fuel, the
forward momentum. Hope to be seen as you truly are is premium. Hope to stop seeing
and feeling and being like everyone else is regular. Some give in to it - others
give over and still others give up. But who among us hasn't experienced all three
states of existence?
It's a truth so utterly simple and pure it's almost
laughable how we keep messing it up. Instead of seeing it, we cloak ourselves
in our "safe" illusions and mystery as grace weeps rivers of thwarted
glory. So what's the answer? Dunno. If I had the answer I'd watch it rise up
into the atmosphere like air bubbles through water, Because that's what broken
people do. And that's the only path to wholeness - to release the need for answers
but keep the questions coming. To let go of fantasies but not the dreams - never
the dreams. To breathe in disaster and breathe it out again, transformed into
something with fluttering wings.
Like the movies and songs say - take a closer look at
everyday angels and zombies, frogs and princes. Each are broken in different
ways, either clinging to death or innocence and denying themselves the whole
spectrum of the in-between.
Being broken must be its own kind of purgatory. There's
always the waiting underneath, interrupted only momentarily by occasional flashes
of brilliant understanding that it's the waiting that's the problem. And also
by the knowledge that it's OK to step outside of the person that you want to
be and to be the person that you are. And like a miracle, the brokenness is gone,
except for the traces of beauty it leaves behind like a chrysalis.