Loving Broken Things

Primordial tragedy. The vessels of light that shattered and scattered into everything.

Once again I found myself contemplating the brokenness of the world. Sometimes I get engulfed by that bottomless grief. The ruined body of a hummingbird smeared across the asphalt with the dead leaves, styrofoam cups, and condom wrappers. A man with dead eyes staggering down my street with a needle still in his arm. Headlines. Teenagers beat two homeless men to death. Parents kick nine-year-old boy to death. Photographs of children killed in Gaza. Why, why, why.

And our own lives, our own bodies, all that lesser brokenness. I read that the ancient rabbis said it would be better for humans to never have existed, there is so much pain in the world. But since we do exist, they concluded, we must try to do good.

Why, why, why? Once again I found myself contemplating brokenness. And realized: No brokenness equals the disavowal of all imperfection. Broken things would have to be forbidden, a ruthless test imposed on all forms in the universe.

What is the greatest act of love of something broken? To forbid it, deny it, destory it, uncreate it? No.

The greatest act of love is to allow it to be. To cradle it, honor it, let the light fall upon it. What we call broken is held in the infinite embrace of Reality, no less than what we call good.

Brokenness, too, is a testament of love.


  1. krisalex333

    A teenager was raped and strangled to death with a wire here in South Africa over the weekend. The reason? She was gay. the world is indeed broken.

  2. transginger

    We are the ultimate predators. We prey on our own, we prey on children, we kill for no other reason than to show everyone how big our testicles are. We attack unprovoked. We are the only animal that does that. No other creature, unless wounded or damaged in some way, will simply kill for the sake of killing. Our ability to “evolve” will end up being what destroys us. The world is a mess. Sometimes I wish it really were the end of days, so someone can hit the reset button and we can start over.

  3. genderneutral

    I agree wholeheartedly we need to embrace and nurture the broken while also loving (my add here) the ones who break the broken. Thich Nhat Hanh wrote a poem called call me by my true name which asks us to recognize the seeds of good and the evil we all carry. In so doing we can create peace and healing universally. This applies to the broken as well. Thanks for a great post.

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