The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. – Ernest Hemingway
It seems like the world is composed of those people who break bones and those who do not. I’m the former, and my husband is the latter. At this point Grace seems to fall in my camp. I’ve been thinking a lot in the last week about what it means to be broken, and then to heal. I do realize that not everything in life is a metaphor – sometimes a cold is just a cold, a friend told me once – but this one is hard to avoid.
As scars speak of wounds we have suffered and healed from, so too do our bones bear the marks of our journey, our falls and our recoveries. The big difference, of course, is that bones, when healed, are invisible to the naked eye. That means that my body is full of healed breaks, bones that have reset themselves, grown back together, not as perfect as before, not as straight, but (as of now) solid
I am easily broken. And yet I have always, so far, healed. It’s hard not to ponder why it is that some of us are more breakable than others. Did Grace somehow inherit my predisposition towards breaking? It wouldn’t be the only difficult legacy of mine she’s received. Am I weak? I often feel that way, there’s no question: fragile is one of the words I would use first to describe myself. But as I think about this more it occurs to me that this is perhaps just a physical manifestation of my emotional and spiritual orientation towards the world. Maybe my bones simply echo the way my heart is easily broken, by all the gorgeousness and pain it witnesses every day. Maybe I don’t know any other way to be, deep down in my core, in the very marrow of my self, than vulnerable to breaking.
I understand that there is great pain in breaking, but I also have to believe there is much to learn. At the very least it makes me appreciate being whole. And of course it fills me with awe, the idea that bones, the scaffolding on which our entire bodies hang, can knit themselves back together. The analogy this offers for life itself is compelling to me, and inspiring. I hope that if Grace did inherit my propensity for breaking she also can see the beauty in this way of life.
Have you broken a lot of bones? Do you think that makes a person weak?
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