A common brokenness

… the sources of our suffering becomes the source of our hope…

Here’s what struck me from this passage from Henri Nouwen’s book Life of the Beloved: living with and leaning in to our dependencies becomes a way of connecting with our dependency on God. I have read similar ideas many times yet when I get in such an obsessive/dependent state as he describes (so good to know someone else does this), I can’t yet automatically go to this idea, rather I just experience shame and, depending on the strength of the usually unreciprocated attachment, acute embarrassment. I get attached to people in the way he describes and lose sight of myself…I fear I am too much and also not enough.


But I find I can trust Nouwen and the 12 step ideas he draws  on in the passage in this photography … openly confessing our dependencies whether material or emotional is part of spiritual growth, and leads us toward understanding our dependency on God. I have noticed that the dependencies I have leaned into and acknowledged have produced vulnerability, which produces spiritual growth.

So here’s to embarrassment, awkwardness, dependency and brokenness. Indeed, blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven — a kingdom of shared brokenness and openness, where no one is placed above the other, and where we each give comfort according to our capability and take comfort according to our need.
Kelly Dombroski blogs as www.throwntogetherness.wordpress.com.

Broken Bodies

Content Warning: mention of eating disorders, mental illness, and sexual assault

They call her a bean pole
With a slender frame like the stick whose strength is used to help bean plants grow
Which contains a sad irony
When she won’t let food touch her
Scared to be tainted by the calories
And they call her bean pole
But she can only see a tree trunk
Layers of herself she wants to shed
And she feels
So broken

They call him a couch potato
Dirtied by the soil of laziness they perceive
Because after a redundancy it’s not hard for him to feel like his life is redundant
But there’s only so many hours he can spend
Scrolling through jobs he doubts he could get
He forgets what it’s like
To feel purpose in a life that seems
So broken

They call her a tart
Sweet, but not good for you
Just her name leaves their mouths with a sour taste
Because in their minds
The difference between feeling whole inside and a gaping hole inside
Is the one letter he took away
It was a silent letter
The “yes” that never left her mouth
Yet he heard it anyway
And now they treat her as being
So broken

They call him nuts
And perhaps it is appropriate – after all
Nuts are the most common food allergy
And sometimes he feels like he’s allergic to himself
With the obsessive compulsion to scrub his hands raw
Trying to cleanse his skin of his mind’s disease
That has become the punchline for pedanticity
His emotional state is as raw as his hands
And his life, like his skin
Feels so broken

And why do we continue to compare ourselves to food?
As if we are less than human
Just there to be consumed
By these overwhelming darknesses
Secretions of ebony inks that swirl
In a jet black haze around us
And sometimes this smog weighs down on us
So thick, so heavy
That the exit lights are invisible
And sometimes it feels like we’re
Just too broken –


“The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,

and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said,

‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’

In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying,

‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood;

do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me’

For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

1 Corinthians 11:23b-26


And this, perhaps this is the food metaphor to end all food metaphors
Because this one
Broken body
Gives us hope that
We can be restored.

Emily is too tired to write a bio so here is a link to her blog: https://emilyontheinternetblog.wordpress.com/ 

Feature Image by nickelbabe; accessed via Pixabay 

Awakening a forgotten brightness

A world without beauty would be unbearable. Indeed the subtle touches of beauty are what enable most people to survive. Yet beauty is so quietly woven through our ordinary days that we hardly notice it. Everywhere there is tenderness, care and kindness, there is beauty…The Beautiful stirs passion and urgency in us and calls us forth from aloneness into the warmth and wonder of an eternal embrace. It unites us again with the neglected and forgotten grandeur of life…We respond with joy to the call of beauty because in an instant it can awaken under the layers of the heart a forgotten brightness.

John O’Donahue, Divine Beauty: The Invisible Embrace

I am a compulsive activist, and yet I know that I need stillness and beauty to keep me alive, to sustain me and nourish me. So today let’s find something beautiful and sit with it a while – it might be in nature, it might be your child, it might be a corner of your home, or a poem, or a picture. Let it awaken your heart again and remember that there is so much good and so much beauty in this world.

Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,    for his compassions never fail.

 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:21-23

And if tonight my soul may find her peace
in sleep, and sink in good oblivion,
and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower
then I have been dipped again in God, and new-created

from Shadows, D H Lawrence