Working Through the Cracks

Life has a way of laughing at me by reflecting my insides through unfortunate events.

A couple of years ago, I likened my life to my 2-inch long bangs:

The bad thing about not having a job is that you have time to do things like cut your own bangs. If you look at my bangs, they’re equally proportionate to my life since returning from Belize: sort of aimless and random, but well-intentioned with a touch of frantic. They scream: Something good can be done with this space if I could just get it together!

Last May, I shattered my iphone. It happened 40 minutes after receiving what I had thought was the worst news regarding our chances to conceive naturally: we would have to pay for treatment. On the other side of paid treatment and still no kids, I can tell you (me), there is worse news.

My cell phone had dropped out of my pocket, and fell only 12 inches to the ground, screen totally shattered. It seemed like an over-the-top response from my blasted phone to shatter entirely when it had only dropped a foot. What a weak phone. Really, though, having been dropped so many other times before, down entire flights of stairs without a scratch, I understood that it must have hit the sidewalk at such an angle the stress was too much and it just burst.

When I dropped the phone, I was leaving a friend’s house who had lost physical custody of her kids due to substance abuse. The combination of these things was too much, and as I picked up the phone and turned it over to see the shattered screen, I burst. I couldn’t help but match the screen to the state of my soul in that moment. Instant tears. Paralyzed in grief. Days (weeks?) of recovery.

At some point several months later, battling our front yard space, I wrote this:

Our blooming flowers that were dead a month ago are saving my life right now. The way these flowers, planted on almost the exact weekend we began our journey through unparenthood, have become reflective of my insides- bright and cheery, withered, dead, sprouting, full-bloom, wilted, thirsty, drowning, blooming… endless, the stages, and totally dependent on things they’re not in charge of.

Today I shattered the screen again. Sometime in the summer, I had dropped the phone and cracked the newly replaced screen in one spot. I figured out quickly that, although one crack had branched into 4 little fractures, the phone was fully functional. I had reached the point I almost didn’t even see those cracks anymore.

Today, for the third time, I dropped the phone off a bench onto carpeted floor at LA Fitness, and the screen split. Another one of those weird angle, less than 10-inch drops. Another 8 cracks off the original 4, and on a different branch, two more cracks. One original crack now sprawled into 14 jagged lines. But the phone works. My feeling (although not good) was something like this: we’ve been through this before, and we’re sturdier now. Phone, I’m not mad at you, and we will not buy another screen. We will continue to work through the cracks.

And just like that, I wanted to give myself a hug. Self. We’ve been through this before, and we’re sturdier now. I am not mad at you, and we will not try to fix you anymore. We will continue to work through the cracks. And this is how God speaks to me.

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