This last week we traveled up and around a million back roads in Northern Michigan. Gentle turning through hills and miles of meadows tucked between towering evergreens and unblemished white sandy beaches.
As we took time to breathe as a family, thoughts and words tumbled out of me like a fountain. Snatches of beauty took up residence in my heart. The snippets I took hold of might just last me weeks.
But one of my favorite sights were the leaning-sideways barns—the ones that were red, but have slowly slid into grey.
What is it about a broken barn, slowly overcome by wildflowers, that’s so beautiful? Or that one fence post nudged over in tall grass that catches our eyes.
We take pictures of the not quite right. But when it comes to our lives, we hide the things that are not what has been deemed good by . . . well, by whom?
Who gets to decide what’s good?Tweet This
The politicians? Given that arena at the moment, I certainly hope not.
The academics? I dare say institutions aren’t familiar enough with real life to make the call.
I’m not even certain I want religion to define what’s good, as they can’t seem to agree.
I just finished reading Me Before You and the theme dove-tails into my musings about the beauty in brokenness. I don’t think I’m giving away too much to say I wish it ended differently. That statement is absolutely a simple thing to say from the outside looking in.
I would hope to never choose it for me, my family, or anyone, but isn’t choosing death saying that broken is worthless, something to be thrown away, or given up on?
Ultimately, it isn’t up to me to decide what is good or not good, and I am ever so thankful.
I would mess it up. Every. Single. Time. In fact I think every normal human would.
In addition to my novel reading, I’ve been digging into a bit of philosophy. It takes me forever to read through a page and actually understand what I’ve read (my academic career is far, far in my past), but I’m finding it very interesting.
It’s pushing me more into realizing that I have to believe in something else—something outside of me. Outside of us. Because giving any person the right to say what’s good is, leads to destruction, dehumanizing propaganda, and ultimately, anarchy. If I don’t have the right to say what’s good, who says you have the right? You? Do you see the problem? Even declaring that no one has a right to say anything says that you have the right to say that no one has a right.
And all that brain-bending philosophy brings me right smack dab back to the broken down barn and the leaning fence post.
I think that we’re somehow attracted to the not-quite-right of man-made structure because it points to something outside of us.
That ultimately there’s something out there that makes life go on, that takes pleasure in working together all things for good.
Somehow that makes it easier for me to breathe. That the area of my life that’s slightly off-kilter, that part that refuses to bend to my hand-made rules, is becoming good.
Even when it’s as bad as all that—the paint chipping away, walls leaning to the side, gutted, and in danger of just giving up the ghost—there’s something, I dare say, someone out there planting wildflowers and creating a beautiful picture.
Is it hard?
Absolutely. I don’t want to be a broken down barn and have folks out there pointing at me, taking pictures of my awkwardness.
But who ever said easy was right or hard was wrong? Tweet This
It takes courage to face the day broken. It takes perspective to admit someone might know better than me. But there’s still something beautiful in the broken.
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