*Drawing by little Ruth*
My daughter talks about a lot of things at the dinner table.
“Can I do a somersault in the bath tonight?”
“Frozen has the BEST songs ever of any movie ever!”
“I want to fly but I’d be a pony too.”
Her name is Ruth, she’s six years old, and she’s frustratingly lovely. And at the risk of sounding like a sappy, doting father… she’s also smart, funny, and incredibly insightful.
And ever since Easter, she’s been on a kick about brokenness. She’s not describing the emotional state of feeling distressed or defeated, she’s talking about things that are literally broken.
I’ll hear her quote something Jesus said like “this is my body which is broken for you” or talking about the temple being broken in two when Jesus was on the cross. (This was also the time she ministered communion to our family with plantain chips and guacamole, which is a whole other story.)
But last night, my son Matthew was doing something he knew he shouldn’t have been doing and I raised my voice to him.
Me: “Matthew, no!”
Ruth: “Do NOT speak to him like that! His heart is breaking!”
Me: “Ruthie, do you think that when I get angry with Matthew that his heart breaks?”
Ruth: “Yes. Of course. He could die if his heart breaks.”
I had never thought of it like that before. I use the word “brokenness” to describe a feeling but Ruth doesn’t understand it like that. She thinks that when someone says their heart is breaking that they mean their heart is literally breaking.
And I wonder if that’s how God wants us to view the concept of brokenness.
When Jesus was on the cross, His body was literally broken.
When the temple was destroyed, it was literally broken.
When the curtain was torn in two, it was literally broken.
Our God is a physical God. He was touched and kissed. His friends walked, laughed, and cried with Him. And the death of Jesus — His greatest gift — was a physical act. His body was broken. His blood was poured out for us.
I wonder what would happen if we thought of ourselves and others as literally broken people in need of being put back together. How would that change the questions we ask? Or how quickly we forgive? Or the amount of patience we give? Or how often we ask God to help us and our friends and family?
Because that’s the reality.
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