Building with Broken Pieces

Only in moments that break us, when we let go of the imagined whole and see the pieces for what they are, can we truly begin to build.

The broken guitar was perhaps the most visible crack of a deeper fracture. As I set its stringless body on the curb, I overheard a couple talking as they walked by. “That’s what I was describing,” the man said in hushed excitement. I looked up. “You can take this,” I assured him. “Really?” he asked, seeming oddly surprised that I would give away garbage. But, then again, to him this wood and glue wasn’t garbage. “I want to plant flowers in it,” he explained. “I saw it in a book.”

As a musician, I always feel guilty throwing out an instrument, even when it’s unplayably shattered, even when it’s not worth the cost of repair. “Please take it,” I insisted, grateful to be so quickly reminded of how new life can take root not despite our brokenness but because we’re willing to admit it.

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