but being broken is even harder.

take a deep breath. there’s no crisis and no over-the-cliff announcement. *h and i and the whole family are fine.

but i’ve been thinking a lot about people who have damage from their past.

literally almost everyone i meet has some kind of baggage they are carrying around. often it’s from childhood. sometimes it’s dragged itself into adulthood too.

lots of people spend lots of time trying to undo the damage of their lives.

if they are noble, they try not to let themselves inflict collateral damage onto others.

when bones are broken and they heal, that place- where the calcification has taken place on the bone- is supposed to be even stronger than the original bone.

but when objects are broken, the spot where you glue it together will always be a weak point.

so- is the human soul more like a bone or more like a thing?

i watched a show called ‘intervention’ last night. i have watched about 30 episodes so far (that’s a whole nother post unto itself)- but last night’s really shook me up.

if you don’t know this show, i’ll give you a brief summary. each episode follows one or two addicts. they can be addicted to whatever- alcohol, food, heroin, etc.- but they each have agreed to be in a documentary about addiction. what they don’t know…drum  roll…is that they will each face an intervention near the end of the show. each episode ends with a short follow-up on the person who was featured. lots of times they are inspiring and hope-filled. here is a former wreck of a life, now turned into a decent mother/brother/sister/friend/whoever.  i like that someone can go from destroyed to empowered in less than 45 minutes.

but last night there was a 19 year old. i don’t remember his name, and i’m sad that i remember his life story. pretty much abuse-neglect-dehumanization-more abuse-crushed-thrown away-more abuse… here was a kid with lots of potential, and his life was literally in tatters. his Self was just shattered. and i kind of knew that no amount of intervention or detox or therapy would be able to really fix him. because it wasn’t really clear that there was anything there to fix. he was a shell of a person, empty except for the pain that ran over his rough edges. and pain can’t really be molded into a human life.

i once had a conversation with a friend about people who were damaged versus people who were broken. those who are damaged can be helped with care, concern, patience, and some support. what was done to them was often accidental, and can sometimes be undone. yes, it takes a lot of work, but the essence of that person is still alive inside.

someone who is broken is unfixable. you can never love them enough or feed them enough or care for them enough to fill their bucket. their fire was extinguished, and there aren’t even any coals left glowing. this person is like the walking wounded. but there are no bandages strong enough to stick and no medicine strong enough to cure. this person may look like you or me on the surface. they may have created a facade of a life. but to lift the veneer would be to crack the carefully constructed surface, so that will never really happen.

nobody likes to talk about these people. nobody wants to fathom that some people are beyond redemption. not when they are  innocent people. not people who have done nothing wrong. just souls born into the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong circumstances. and they pay for it. and they pay and they pay, and it’s never ever enough. and nothing on earth can unlive what they have lived. nothing can reignite their spark. they are alive, but they are dead.

except that they hurt.

we like to believe that hurt signals when something is wrong. it is a call to action to fix something. if you break your arm, you set the bone and it heals. if your tooth is rotting, you pull it out and you are on the road to recovery. pain tells you to take action to set things right.

unless you are broken.

then pain is a signal that you are still here, trapped in your reality.

like chronic pain, it serves no real purpose, because nothing can be done.

and yet, they hurt.

they hurt and they ache and they throb and nothing dulls the pain.

so, what is there to do?


can you contemplate the enormity of that?

there. is. nothing. to. do.


go love your loved ones, folks. appreciate the people who you have around you. make amends even when you think it might not help. try to fix things before they become completely broken.

because you never know when it will be just too late.