Wednesday, January 4, 2012

January {A Poem}

The LORD is near the brokenhearted;
He saves those crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18, HCSB


for B.

How many times can a heart be broken
And mended
And remain a heart
And not a mass of scar tissue
Too tough yet to beat?
Seven times?
Seventy times?
Seventy times seven times?

I had a teacup once,
Translucent porcelain
So delicate that its cobalt lace and roses
Shone through to the inside,
In pale shadow,
Like a pencil sketch
Of a full-color photograph.

It was my favorite cup
For tea­--
A sister gift,
A happy memory of a birthday past.
But it broke,
Betrayed by its own delicate beauty
In a rough-and-tumble cargo hold
On a flight
To a new home
Halfway round the world.

My husband mended it;
It looked as whole as before,
But when I poured hot water over the tea leaves,
Amber liquid bled
From unhealed capillaries
Our eyes had not detected.

A teacup no longer—
A pencil cup now.
Still serviceable,
Still beautiful,
But not entirely reparable.

How, then, with a heart?
Do the fissures no one sees
Until the heat comes
Ever fully fuse again?

Or can a new heart be had—
One of sterner stuff,
Not so brittle as to shatter
In life’s blows and buffetings?
 ~crm, 1/17/2007

I'm forgoing WWHW at A Holy Experience this week, as I have nothing at present to offer on the appointed theme. A friend's hard week made this seem the right choice instead. If you were expecting otherwise, thanks for grace.


  1. This is lovely, Christina. Our heart's response to its woundings determines, I think, how it heals. If it heals. When our wounding causes us to press in more closely to the Father's Heart, he not only heals, but expands its ability to continue to function. To love, to serve, to praise. And that is what is so very precious about how our dear Brandee has responded to the breaking of her heart. She has pressed so very deeply into His Heart that the brokenness brings incredible beauty and strength to her spirit, and Glory to her Father. Definitely stern stuff. :)

  2. Thank you, Anne, for extending and completing the thought of the poem so eloquently. Such a wise friend is a blessing.

  3. thank you, Christina, for the poem...the rhythms are striking, and i think the muted, tentative tone is appropriate for the sadness of the circumstances in which you posted it.

    Anne, i really liked your comment, and i hope that it, as well as the poem, will be a comfort to B.

  4. You're welcome, Chris. Thank you for the affirmation. Amen to your prayer! Grace to you in the Lord Jesus today.

  5. Perfect timing to share the poem here. Sorry for what B is experiencing, and I pray the Holy Spirit will use these words and your friendship as a means of much comfort. Yes, the Lord is near to the brokenhearted. Amen.

  6. I'm just reading this. Beautiful. Goes to an important discussion Rachel & I had, yesterday, on the topic of--Can you believe it? Yes, of course you can!--brokenness. She continued the conversation, today, by sending a long e-mail to which I have yet to reply because I can't process her words, entirely, right now. It's a little the same with those in your poem, but already I know I will look back & see things I can't, right now. Today, I went outside & played baseball (of the plastic variety) w/ the girls, & Clementine swung her fat, red bat, & Charleigh chased the ball and brought it to me again & again like a good, little puppy. Then we gathered pinecones into a green bucket. So just to have the desire & strength & will to do those things was a gift. I am carried by your prayers & those of so many saints.

  7. Yes. I would've guessed wisdom as Anne's primary, spiritual gift had I been thinking clearly. Instead, I guessed encouragement because she's so amazing at that, too, is she not? Then she advised that her primary gift is, in fact, prophecy. I don't know how to keep up w/ all these gifts. But we are blessed to have such a friend.

  8. This is beautiful, true, real. Giving voice to the fears we all face in those dark days when there seems no end to the losing and the grieving. But, as Anne has so eloquently stated below, our hope lies in the One Who Heals. By His Grace and mysterious workings, the ripping apart of our hearts can be the opening, the stretching, the shaping that refines us into His image. And somehow the scars become marks of His love, marks of His faithfulness through every last bit of suffering we've seen. Praying Grace for your friend today...


Thank you for sharing your day with me! Your presence here is a gift. *You* are a gift. Right now I am unable to reply to every comment, but please know I read and pray for each and every commenter. Grace and peace to you in Christ.