Broken and Beautiful

Once I held something beautiful in my hands. I could turn it around, look at it, and from every angle, I saw the beauty. One day, something happened and this beautiful item broke. I was sad when it broke – hurt and angry that it broke, and I cried when I looked upon the damage that had been done to what was once so beautiful. While you can still see the glimmers of the beauty that was once there, it is no longer whole, and therefore, no longer the thing of beauty that it once was.

Yet, I cannot bring myself to throw it out – because I can recall, remember with startling clarity, the beauty that was once there. So I keep it, though broken as it is, knowing it is no longer beautiful or useful to me, and I use it to remind myself of the beauty that once was. Somedays, the reminder makes me smile at the memory – and other days, the reminder makes me sad all over again for the knowing that it is no longer beautiful.

In keeping this broken memory, I find that this once-beautiful thing now sits on a shelf beside other things that are not broken, things that are still beautiful – but when people visit me, they do not see the beautiful things. No, in fact, they always ask me, “What is this one doing here? It’s broken.”

Eventually, they will look past the one that is broken and say about the others, “Oh, how pretty.” Yet, even then, they come back to, “But if these are so pretty, why would you want this broken thing here next them?”

The broken item is no longer beautiful, and it taints the beauty of the things around it – yet, still, I keep it on the shelf, as though it belongs with these beautiful things, choosing to see it as a beautiful thing that it once was…but I am the only one who can remember it this way, because no one else saw this item when it was beautiful – so all they see is the broken pieces and wonder why I would choose to keep this among my beautiful things.

I try to hold the pieces up so that my visitor can see – I try to show them how the broken pieces once fit together. I point out the gilding, the colors, the brightness that is still there beyond the broken pieces – I explain to my visitors just how gorgeous this broken thing once was – trying to draw a picture for them so that they can see how much beauty was once there – thinking this will make them understand, and that they too will see it as a beautiful thing.

But all they say is, “Yes, I can see that it was once beautiful.” Then they softly and gently say to me, “But now it is broken.”

And alas, it is broken. No matter how beautiful it once was, no matter how much I try to remember the beauty that was there – it is not there any longer – it is broken. I can either fix it or throw it away – but I simply cannot keep it sitting on the shelf next to all the beautiful things and continue to allow it to taint the beauty that is there. If I do not repair it, if I do not remove it – it is taking up a space where something that IS still beautiful, that is NOT broken can reside in my life, my heart, my love, my soul…

So I pick up the pieces – and I set them on my desk and I look closely and intently at them for a time – can I repair this once beautiful but broken treasure? I begin to examine the pieces – are the big enough to put back together? Can I make it whole again? Even if I do, will the memory of it having been broken always taint the beauty that is there once it is put back together again? Will the cracks in the surface be a reminder of the pain experienced when it shattered?

Can what is broken ever be whole again?

Or, do I cry my last tears over the loss of this once beautiful item – and throw it away, cast it aside, allowing room for things to sit on the shelf and reside with the beauty that is there…knowing that one day, I can put a new beautiful item there, not in place of this broken item, because nothing will ever be exactly the same or sit in the exact same place on this shelf of beautiful things…but to sit in the beauty nonetheless.

If I repair it, I will always be reminded it was broken, and that memory will definitely affect my perception of the current beauty. If I cast it away, eventually, the memory of how it was once so beautiful is all that will reside in me – if I keep it here, broken as it is, I will only remember the fact that it is broken. If I let it go, eventually, the memory of how it was broken will fade, and I will once again be able to remember how beautiful it once was, grateful and thankful for the joy it once brought my life.

The decision seems to be an easy one – doesn’t it?

Trust me, my friends, it is not.

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