Bruised reed… not broken, supposedly

15 01 2008

Years ago, when Jim and I were first beginning our attempts to get pregnant, I began seeing a Spiritual Director. It was overall a powerful, healing, renewing experience. But at that first meeting with her, I was so full of hope. Things were beginning to be difficult in the church, I was struggling with fibromyalgia and fatigue and everything that accompanies FMS… but I was excited to begin trying for a baby, which would, naturally, come quickly.


At that same meeting, my then-Spiritual Director told me God had given her a verse for me: Isaiah 42:3. “A bruised reed he will not break…” I liked that. I liked the verse, I liked the hope it represented at that time, I liked the fact that my SD had felt God had given her that verse for me. That it represented God’s activity and presence in my life, and I should hold on to that as a promise.

I’m thinking there must be another verse for me at this point. Because every time I hear that verse, I flinch. I am so bruised it’s not funny. I have always bruised easily–physically and emotionally. Now spiritually as well. But that’s ok. That’s life. However… now, 6 years after that verse first came to my attention as one for me, that verse only serves to represent how wrong I was to hope.

I know, I know… I have many things to give thanks for, many relationships that sustain and renew me, many situations for which I am eternally grateful. I’m not so self-centered (at least I don’t think so) as to think that just because God hasn’t given me all the desires of my heart, that God is not present. Nor do I think-now-that because my SD said this verse was for me, that God was promising to never let me be broken. But I kind of thought that at the time. Naive? Yes. Too optimistic? Probably. Still, it’s a bit ridiculous…

So maybe I’m not as broken as I think I am, and maybe I’m just extremely bruised, bent, bumped, bewildered, battered, bedraggled, betrayed, b-b-b- yep, I still think the word is broken.

This all came up for me because last week’s bulletin cover at our church featured this verse, Isaiah 42:3. And I simply wanted to cry. I wanted to–and still want to–cry for the brokenness that has happened. The broken friends, who are tired of being bruised and beaten by life… for the broken systems that contribute to our brokenness. (and sometimes cause it). For the brokenness that is all around.