There is no such thing as broken, not when it comes to human beings.
It's a lie. The logic follows that if a man or woman can be broken or have brokenness, then a man or woman might also obtain 'perfection'. I am determined to rid us of this language that separates our humanity and divinity in such a way.
I have no desire for an overly virtuous piety. I want wholeness: a kind of rugged holiness that is my body, mind and soul integrated. The darkness and the light of me, entwined together. Piety alone cannot give me freedom, it cannot bring me home to myself. If I fall and scrape my knee, if my blood spills on the earth – I heal, but I am not left unmarked. The scar is evidence itself of that which is wounded and that which is whole being woven together through the act of living.
Wholeness is not the opposite of brokenness.
Wholeness is accepting myself, both good and bad. Accepting the divinity and humanity within me. No man is wholly good, but he might find his true self in accepting what is shadow and what is glorious. Accepting your true self is perhaps the largest obstacle to embracing and living/being the person you dream (or have not yet dreamed of being) with real freedom. Whether that is making money, developing the third world, pursuing art – whatever it is that is within you; you were made to impact the world. More of us than we like to think, were made to spend our energies in the pursuit of bringing others and whole communities to wholeness.
Living defined by your rights and wrongs is a flawed and fractured mirror of who you are. If we see others through that same lens, our lens is the only broken thing. An object can be broken; a person cannot. My friend Greg works in a church and he would call it 'living defined by your sin'.
To be 'fixed' or 'unbroken' is as much of a lie as it is to believe you are broken.
Wounded, perhaps. Scarred, likely. There is only to be yourself or to be some other version of yourself. This is crucial identity work – the process of becoming; wholeness. Where what is graceful, clumsy, beautiful, ugly, brave, cowardly, truthful, deceitful, wise, foolish and fragile is woven together into a single, true being.
Every wound is an opportunity to dig deeper into the darkness and light within you. The damages we do, the things we suffer, the furies we endure and the passions that push and pursue us. This mosaic of contrasts battling and dancing within each of us – that is the truest self. Fragments of light and hope, pieces of darkness and shadow – this work of coming home to myself and all that I am, is the most important task.
I'll tell you why. It is too easy to live in this world by category of right and wrong. When we do that to ourselves and we do it to each other; we step so easily into a warped view of justice. Justice becomes blurred into self-focus. We become criminals or victims, instead of both. We categorize ourselves and one another; this one is good, this one is bad.
We make our worlds smaller by defining each other within such small boundaries. We limit God and the universe with concrete lines. We crush the imagination of what might be and we take our eyes off the true prize, which is to live as our true selves.
Some of us are afraid of our true selves, because we categorize so ruthlessly into right and wrong. Ambition might be always considered selfish by those who work for charity, while poverty for the sake of development might be seen as irresponsible or wrong by those who hold self-sufficiency as a virtue. So we try again, to get it right.
Few of us are so confident to live completely as ourselves, lest we be called Narcissist. The world is rarely blessed with those who walk completely in their own skin.
We relinquish our creative power, becoming obsessed with doing what is right. In our desire to be perfect, to be right, to be good (or to be sinless) we take our eyes off the bigger creative work in the universe. There is no hero in fairytale or real life that does not bear some shadow or flaw. We are unconvincing humans without them.
Whatever good you can and will accomplish in your life, will occur in the company of your demons too. You cannot eradicate yourself of much, but in the pursuit of your true self, more of your light will come to the surface than you realise.
If only people would give as much energy, thought and love to their gifts (the true self) and the work of their hands today; as they gave to pursuing perfection yesterday in order to begin tomorrow.
If you cannot look at the moon and see how she leans into the darkness each night, you do not yet understand how important the weaving, the juxtaposition of light and dark truly is.
Seek yourself out, so that you might see the creative force of the universe, the Creator at work. If you will simply look, it will not take you long to become acquainted with that self. Then you can continue with the important work; that of Being.
This piece was originally published on www.tashmcgill.com
Tash McGill is a digital strategist by day. That means helping people make smart decisions about all things digital. Her passion is people and communicating ideas that shape our world, especially the world of young people. Formerly a youth worker and theologian, Tash is passionate about identity and spiritual formation alongside a healthy dose of hospitality.
Tash McGill's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/tash-mcgill.html