Last summer a friend invited me to a glassmaking class. Being an artsy person, it sounded like fun. But it didn’t take long to feel intimidated with the idea of using shards and broken pieces of glass to form a design. The goal? To make glass garden stakes.
The first challenge was coming up with a design that would a) fit on the relatively small main piece of glass and b) not end up looking like a mess. Once you had an idea in mind, you picked through several containers of broken glass to find not only the shapes that would form the design, but the right colors to use.
It took a lot of manipulating the pieces to end up with a design you liked before you could glue them down. But eventually I did. I was quite pleased with how they turned out.
I think back to those containers that held broken glass. The pieces in themselves weren’t remarkable. Yet when formed properly, were able to create something quite beautiful.
We don’t like broken. Whether it’s our favorite coffee mug, a key snapping in the lock or our shattered heart.
This past week I opened a cabinet door and one of my Pyrex bowls fell out, smashing onto the counter. Fragments of glass flew everywhere. In fact, I was cooking dinner at the time so we had to be careful that none landed in the food! It took a long time to clean up the mess. And for a couple of days after, I was still finding pieces I had missed.
Broken can be a real mess. How do you possibly pick up the pieces of a life shattered by a miscarriage, a life-altering medical diagnosis, the loss of a job or the ending of a marriage? You look around at the wreckage and it feels too much.
Broken can be ugly. Hurt feelings. Unkind words. Loneliness. It all feels so despicable.
Broken can also be beautiful. The fragments of a shattered life don’t look like much. But when reassembled in the hands of God, can become something quite extraordinary. We just have to give Him the shards and trust Him with the process of piecing them into something we never would have dreamed possible.