Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete.
Could we just be broken together?
If you can bring your shattered dreams and I‘ll bring mine,
Could healing still be spoken and save us?
The only way we’ll last forever is broken together. – “Broken Together”, Casting Crowns
My Wednesday morning started with the discovery of something being created that, honestly, excites me on a level that I cannot quite explain. Round Table Companies has started up a Kickstarter campaign for the development of a card game called “Vulnerability is Sexy”. The founder of Round Table Companies explains the game like this: “We believe everyone has a story to share, and our stories—the proud ones and the not-so-proud ones—are what make us beautiful. That’s why we created Vulnerability is Sexy, a card game that helps players reveal their true selves and give each other some of life’s most beautiful gifts: time, truth, and connection.” Yes, this excites me. It is hard to explain exactly why but it does. Over the past several years, I have learned the benefits and blessings of vulnerability, as well as come face to face, again and again, with the fears associated with it. I love that the point of this game is to create safety and hold space (two phrases/ideas that are well-known now in the vulnerability movement) for people to be their most authentic selves. I don’t see it as being a party game so much as a good endeavor for a night with good friends, a chance to hear as well as be heard.
As the years have gone by, I have met so many people who have suffered in the same silence and fear of vulnerability and mask-removal that I have–it was even one of the first deep conversations my husband and I had–and It breaks my heart. It has become more and more important to me to create and hold those sort of safe spaces for people as best I can. I have faced my fears of being vulnerable coming true, and I don’t doubt that I have likely been that fear come true for others. For the latter, I am most profoundly sorry, more so than I can adequately say. Now, I find my heart deeply drawn to creating and being a safe space. Moreover, I am learning just what it means to be a safe space, whatever that might be for the other person(s). That might mean telling/reassuring them that, yes, it will, in fact, be okay; they will be okay. Or perhaps it’s offering an outside perspective. Perhaps it is not offering anything but your presence, to be a breathing, present life on the other end of the phone line while they cry. Not offering advice or a fix or a silver lining, but just showing up and staying there through their hard moments. Maybe being that safe space means reaching out to someone when they are sure that they have screwed up so badly that they are sure no one wants them around.
Later that morning, as I drove home from the gym, a song played on the radio that I had not heard before. It is called “Broken Together” by Casting Crowns (I have quoted part of it at the top of this post). I know that the song is written around the story of a marriage but vulnerability applies to any close relationship. I was struck by that idea of being broken together and the image it developed in my mind. The image is that of bringing the shards and pieces of the strong yet delicate clay pots that hold our selves and souls and pouring them out at each other’s feet. As those pieces fall and gently clatter upon the floor, they tumble and mix. They don’t voice any expectations, any rejections; they just are together in that brokenness. You know what else is beautiful about bringing those broken pieces together? There is no telling those shattered pieces apart. In our brokenness, we are the same, we are together. And when those pieces are put back together, it will be something new and beautiful, mortared together with love, empathy, camaraderie, and acceptance. We will have spoken healing to each other, even if that speaking is only the words, “Me, too. You’re not alone.”
We can be spoken and broken together. Shattered and crushed together. Sorted and pieced back together. Molded and melded back together. That is what vulnerability allows. That is what it accomplishes.
Will it always work out that way? You want the truth? Of course, you do; you’ve already experienced it. No, it won’t. As a dearly-loved friend of mine wrote:
“Caring isn’t all shiny belly badges getting glowy in Care-a-lot. There’s blood no one ever sees spilled. Tears no one sees shed. There’s a soft violence to caring. Not always, never always, but the potential’s always there. When we care, we make ourselves available, vulnerable.” (Daniel Youngren)
If there is a soft violence to caring, that possibility of deep pain, then vulnerability takes courage. Deep courage. Brené Brown calls vulnerability “our most accurate measurement of courage”. How willing are you to be courageous? To step out in that vulnerability, to be broken together, even with the chance (and, yes, likelihood) of at least some pain? When you know that the good that can come from it will produce something deep and wide and high and beautiful in your relationships? Can we be safe spaces for each other? Spaces where we can come, pour out our pieces and broken together, and have our healing spoken to each other’s hearts, souls, and minds? I would like that. Wouldn’t you?
*Ceramic pot pieces – http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-zYHdwVRZSA8/T1HM7afRoDI/AAAAAAAABc4/ZMyn5sHvyUE/s1600/IMAG0151.jpg
*Broken Clay Heart – https://claypotbroken.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/broken-clay-heart.jpg