Beauty from brokenness

This last week I have been thinking about the Bible passage found in Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 and the verses about ‘Time’. We read how there is a time for everything. Do you remember The Seekers pop group sang a song about it?

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to laugh and a time to cry. A time to grieve and a time to dance, and so on.

It is strange how time can pass very quickly or can drag drearily. Perhaps when we are having a good time, with friends, enjoying ourselves, then the hours pass quickly, and before we know it, it is time to leave. On the other hand, if we are waiting for news about someone coming through from an operation, we can be pacing up and down the hallway with worry.

I’m reminded of the film, Sense and Sensibility, (1995) and the time when Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman) is ‘going mad’ as he waits anxiously to see if his beloved Marianne (Kate Winslet) recovers from a “putrid fever”. He asks to ‘do’ something to take his mind off the torturous waiting game and is sent off on his horse to fetch Marianne’s mother, to be at her bedside.

How true it is that when we are so troubled or worried about a situation, we often try and find something else to occupy our time. Yet, we all know that the ticking away of time is constant. Nothing speeds time up nor slows it down.

At my Supervision meeting recently, I was shown some photographs and had to choose one or two from the pile and then explain what appealed to me and why I had chosen them.

The most prominent photo I chose, was one of a partly broken-down stone wall. It looked as though it had collapsed quite some months earlier, as there was new grass and growth all around the pile of stones which had fallen and laid haphazardly on the adjacent ground.

On the far side of the wall there was a dense area of trees as though it led into a wood. On the near side it was an open grass field. The photo had been taken on a sunny day and although most of the light was on the near side, through the darkness of the trees there was a little light from the sky, which was striving to shine through.

My first thought about the picture was ‘beauty from brokenness’. Although the wall had fallen, nevertheless with the colours, the light, and the shadows, to me it created a rustic countryside scene which was quite beautiful.

Isn’t that like life? Each one of us gets broken at times. Are we shoved, or pushed? or does it happen naturally?  Over a lifetime, various things cause us pain and suffering. But is it always right to try and build back and make things as they were? Or do we accept what has happened, leave it how it is, and, with Jesus’ help, find beauty in the brokenness?

Actually, it could never be put back exactly how it was. Unlike a manufactured brick-built wall, a dry wall consists of varying shapes and sizes of stone and each one is chosen particularly to fit into a certain specific space.

I’ve been to agricultural shows in the past, where there has been a competition for building Dry Stone walls. Every piece is picked up and examined, tossed, and turned around in the builder’s hands, most times being hit, or bashed a little at the edges so that it is just the right shape before it is placed alongside the other stones in the wall.

Are we like that? Sometimes God has to knock off a few of our rough or sharp edges, so that we fit more snugly into the place where he wants us to be. We are all different and unique, but when remoulded and reshaped we can fit and work well together. On our own we cannot stand, but together we can achieve so much more.

Let’s remember, walls can create barriers and offer safety and security. Broken walls can create freedom and opportunities.

Like the passage in Ecclesiastes says, there is a time to knock down and a time to build up.  The secret is knowing which to do and when.


God bless


21 11 2023