Brokenness is our theme this month. Have you ever felt broken? We often feel that way during transition. Remember clear back to August when we talked about the three stages of transition? The Ending, The Neutral Zone, The New Beginning. Broken is often how I feel during the Neutral Zone.
Once I went to a weekend retreat with Mark Nepo. He talked about how all religious traditions teach that brokenness leads to healing; how every crack in our heart becomes an opening. In Tibetan mythology, spiritual warriors have a crack in their heart so mysteries can get in. In the Jewish Talmud, it is said that God places words on our broken hearts like honey. The Sufi mystic Hazrat Inayat Kahn says that God breaks the heart until it stays open. The Chinese say that they will find enlightenment when they have sincerity. By enlightenment, they mean the light that lives within us will come out (through the cracks). What do they mean by sincerity?
An often repeated folk etymology of the word sincere suggests that it is derived from the Latin sine = without, cera = wax. According to one popular explanation, during the Renaissance, dishonest sculptors in Rome or Greece would cover flaws in their work with wax to deceive the viewer; therefore, a sculpture “without wax” would mean honesty in its perfection; sincerity.
If we rush to fill the cracks in our broken hearts, we may end up lacking sincerity. We may miss the chance to become more real, more whole.
I usually rush to fill the cracks in my heart. But I do remember when my dad died and I decided to let myself feel the brokenness. I let the mysteries seep in as I recalled the times when he and fished on the Colorado River and watched the Rockies games. I cried tears of happiness as I dug through old boxes of his journals and read them. As I cleaned out his closet, I took in the scent he had left behind, letting it wash over me like butter (which was his favorite food, I’m pretty sure).
My heart was staying open and Universal Love was rushing in. Slowly but surely, the light that lives within me was coming out through those cracks. I was more sincere, more compassionate, more whole.
What are the ways in which you protect yourself from being broken? Have you ever taken the time to let the cracks stay open? What happened? These are questions we’ll explore this month. And we’ll take a deeper look at how Unitarian Universalist helps us through brokenness.
I’m grateful to be with you in community. I’m growing spiritually, living meaningfully and getting more courage to help heal the world.
From the minister
A reflection on our theme each month.