Homebodies - Embracing brokenness?


Rita Friesen
Neepawa Banner & Press

There is a line from one of the newer hymns that has been haunting me all day. The hymn – ‘Come Touch Our Hearts’ words and music by Gordon Light, 2002, includes a line, ‘Come touch our hearts that we may know compassion’. Somewhere during the day, the words switched to ‘come touch my heart’. The words became more powerful. My thoughts were possibly influenced by the writings of Ann Voskamp, ‘The Broken Way’. One of her chapter thoughts is ‘maybe wholeness is embracing brokenness as part of your life’.

Not much of our casual conversation includes the topic of grief, pain and brokenness as a positive thought. We wish to embrace joy, peace and happiness. We seek for these positive emotions. What do we do with the hurt and the pain? Stuffing it down deep is not productive, for just like the science experiment of the baking soda and vinegar volcano, it will explode and there will be a mess. Truly. There have been a variety of griefs and pains that I have encountered, and experienced, in my many years. There are the early ones of being unloved and feeling unlovable – at various stages of my life, for surviving divorce does not enhance self-image , the deep grief of fractured family, and the deeper grief at the loss of a partner or loved one.

Thankfully, there are books and mentors that encourage one to walk through grief, accept it, perhaps even wallow in it for a time, and then like a deep sea diver, come back up for air. One of the lessons to be learned is that just as we share and converse about our joys we will find comfort and strength by speaking of our pain and sorrows.

There is no way to avoid pain, for it is a part of loving. Every time we chose to love, we open our self to the possibility, the probability, of pain. The author speaks freely of her own life journey, and makes it easy to identify with her. One of her illustrations that resonates with a farming background is the reality that only when a kernel of grain dies does it begin to produce live growth. Scriptural too! But we don’t seem to want to talk about this dying. One solution, not a cure, but a step to being whole, is to continue to love and serve others. Research indicates that doing something kind for someone else de-stresses and uplifts us. Isn’t that what pioneer mentality aced?

When I speak of the pain and grief in my life it is not to elicit sympathy. It is to reassure those not yet ready to speak of their pain that they are not alone. One of the worst emotions is the feeling of being all alone. ‘Come touch my heart that  I may know compassion’. That I may show compassion. Like my friend who suffered a stroke and has some residual effects but takes time to visit other stroke victims – showing compassion and growing stronger in the process.