Brokenness

Brokenness is not a fun feeling, but I am beginning to think it is truly essential to raising children. Some people say “You can’t know joy without pain”, in the sense that the sweetness of joy is somehow dependent upon knowing pain, but I think real brokenness has a much deeper purpose than just throwing happiness into relief.

Tonight, and for the past several nights, I am broken. Really and truly, no exaggeration. My brokenness rushes forth with enough strength to drown me. I sob so hard that I can’t breathe, and I curse like a sailor. Every fiber of me is so sensitive that even the air hurts my skin. I pause my pain to meet my children’s needs, and then I return to it.

It sucks. Of course it sucks. However, I think there is a certain strength in brokenness that is often ignored or underrated. Grief has a way of opening the senses and communicating truth in a way that nothing else does.

In fostering, I think brokenness is essential. My kids don’t know how to be broken without running from it, so it’s up to me to show them how to grieve. And of course, they need to know I grieve for them. Someone MUST grieve for them, for all that has been stolen from them that will never come back. It is a fact that my kids have been so wounded that they don’t believe they are worth grieving for; often to the point where they cannot even grieve for themselves.

I refuse to let their losses go unmourned.

H is leaving us, and I don’t think she’ll make it. H will leave us, and she will end up in juvie. Then prison. Then she will likely die young. There is so much I wanted to give her, so much life I envisioned for her that she’ll never have. If I can give her nothing else, at least I can give her my brokenness. I can show her in a way much more powerful than words that she matters, and that I believe she is worth being broken over.

That is the strength that brokenness has. It doesn’t just show us what joy isn’t, it shows us what worth is. You cannot fake true brokenness, it is as all consuming as a wildfire. Brokenness is a pure and universal expression of what matters, because only the real, lasting things in life can create brokenness.

Every kid deserves to know that they are worth the complete breaking of someone’s heart, and that someone is devastated without them.

 

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