November 26, 2012 by JesstheMess
What broke first? I don’t know. Who can remember when we first encounter ‘broken’?
This past month has itself had plenty of examples. There is the newly purchased trellis on the trailer ready to be nailed in its new home, a place of shelter in our backyard, now snapped in two by the unforeseen strength of the wind. A tooth cracked on the smallest of nibbles, whilst baking. A spatula worn by months of use, giving way to it’s weariness. A favourite spade great at digging the soil, neat in half, at the hands of another. Not to mention the holes in knees, both in clothes and in skin or toes poking through socks, or broken sleep… or a friends husband bleeding, broken, where only machines can see.
Broken…it’s all broken. Do you see it too? We wander with camera to the eye, seeing much beauty, delighting in the small, but do you see this too? Do you see the broken, the things the camera likes to avoid, the things that don’t make postcards?
I get something new, I like to care for it to enjoy it’s aesthetic qualities. Don’t we all? The trellis was so new and nice. My mind had the picture already. The spot by the sliding door and patio, with berries growing lush, providing dessert after the BBQ in the sheltered pleasant summer evening. We dreamed it, we planned it, we paid for it, we did the ground work, but it did not stop the snap. Hindsight says that maybe we could have done something better, but we did not see in time. How many times can broken be avoided by good forethought? Inevitably along the way I cannot foresee all and again something else is broken. Just say, I manage by sheer determination to look after, care for something, can I stop the ‘broken’? My tooth, the dentist says, was just one of those things, it had a weakness, there was nothing more I could do. Socks and jeans they all get holes eventually.
Why? Why is everything breaking, broken or waiting to break?
The temptation is to turn the head, to look away to pretend it doesn’t happen. Focus on the positives, give thanks for the things we still have. We know this well. Yet it nags me, this thought of ‘why’? Does it nag you? Why, in this world that seeks to be better, do it better, live longer, last longer, does so much end up broken?
I wonder what Adam and Eve thought, having eating fruit from the forbidden tree and hearing the footsteps of the LORD God in the garden. Did they know the consequences coming? Did they know they would soon meet broken? This is what He said,
To the woman he said,
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”
And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”
(Genesis 3:16-19 ESV)
From that moment on, every broken, every pain, did it remind them of their
disobedience? The Bible tells us that the consequences of man’s rebellion on that day was separation from God. No longer could they walk freely in the garden, eating of it’s delights. Instead they were banished to a place of toil and brokeness. This ‘broken’ matches the broken I see around. Our work is constant, the toil to deal with the pain and the broken. Could it be that this is a result of that disobedience? Could it be that the ‘broken’ now, reminds us of the broken relationship between God and man? This begs the question, will it be like this forever? Is there hope of escape from this constant brokeness? Is our hope in money, power and riches which for all their efforts have yet to overcome the broken, or is there something else?
Let’s stop averting our eyes, and look closer at the ‘why’? I invite you on a picturesque journey, over the coming weeks, to explore more of what the Bible says about brokeness and the hope that it will not last forever.
© J.Smith Photography and ‘illuminating the invisible’ (2012)