Weekly reflections for those who tend to the dying
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Cracks in the Plaster
Google Image Search (I think this picture is from Dr. Who)
Two year olds make interesting theologians. Sometime before we moved in to our home, probably in a springtime downpour, water had crept its way into the corner of my boy’s bedroom and left its mark on the ceiling. A small spider web of cracks in the plaster reaches out in every direction. Just a little imperfection in the paint, a crack in the plaster. Every so often he will look up at this small crack, point and say: “Jesus coming.” Meaning in two year old speak that Jesus is going to, or has already entered his room through this crack in the ceiling. It’s hard to know where he picked this theological tid bit up. It might have been that somewhere along the way, as so many kids do, Hugh got Santa confused with Christ and as many fewer kids do, the chimney confused with a crack in his ceiling. That could be, but like so many fathers, I’m sure my child is a prodigy and perhaps there is more to this observation than is immediately apparent.
While our home is older, for the most part it’s in very good shape. There are a few spots of chipped paint, maybe a window or two that could use a good cleaning, or even replacing. The furnace is ancient, but still works. Yet for the most part the house is in good shape. So what draws my son’s eye to this one, small imperfection, and what makes him associate it with how he understands the divine? Why would his new mind place the transcendent in the broken? Perhaps because that is the place where goodness, where what binds all of us together and makes us better than ourselves alone, is made most apparent.
We miss the beauty in the smooth, the blessing in the unbroken, the joy in the working. When things function as they should, when traffic flows, when our bodies are strong, our work productive, there is a holiness to that harmony, but one which remains in the background, hidden from site. It has slipped through our fingers. If we want to really see the holy, touch the sacred, we must go to the broken. We must sit in the hospital room, hold the hand of the dying, wipe the tears of the bereaved. It is there in the brokenness that the best of who we are and who we can be together becomes palpable. It is in our care for each other through the pain that the transcendent is made tangible. It is in the broken places, through the cracks in everything, that the light gets in.