Category Archives: Community

Finding Perfection in Brokenness

My family had a rare evening last night when all extracurricular activities were cancelled. We decided to get outside and spend time at a park. It was a beautiful evening and even the family dog enjoyed it with us. When we arrived home, our children asked to watch a movie. Most of television programming is such junk today, that we have purchased some DVDs of movies which uplift and give hope. We let my youngest son chose the movie for us all. He chose Seabiscuit.

If you haven’t watched this movie, you should. It is a story that intertwines the lives of three people and the struggles they went through during the Depression. It is a story of those same people finding each other and healing each other through a race horse named Seabiscuit. There are some difficult scenes in this movie, so I would either limit it for younger children or watch it first, and fast forward through those scenes. But overall, it is such a powerful story that I highly recommend it.

The fact that my son picked this movie doesn’t surprise me. It seems that healing was a theme in my life yesterday. Earlier in the day, my sister and I were discussing how every person and every family has brokenness and sin. This came up because our extended family is planning a gathering at our family farm in Nebraska to celebrate a 50th Wedding Anniversary, and 80th Birthday, and a 17th Wedding Anniversary, as well as the upcoming sale of our family farm in Nebraska. The farm has been in the family for over 100 years. But we have been leasing the land to local farmers for decades as all of us moved on to other occupations. This is a time to remember and let go. It is a joyful and sad moment for my entire family, and when family gathers, all kinds of issues arise.

Our family is not perfect. We have alcoholism, overeating, anxiety, suicide–you name it and we probably have it. But the truth is we also have a lot of love. We know we are not perfect, yet our love is strong. However, there are some people in my family who harshly judge other family members. They cannot relate to them or do not want to spend time with them. They cannot stand their brokenness. In fact, they choose to think that certain people are “perfect.”

I love that line in “Seabiscuit” where Mr. Howard wakes up in the middle of the night very perturbed and tells his wife, “Perfect. He’s perfect. What the hell does “perfect” mean? What? You show me something that’s perfect, I’ll show you something that’s not.” People who think others are perfect are looking at the outside of people or the surface of their lives and they believe that these “perfect” people have no faults, no issues, no sin. This is setting these “perfect” people up for a big fall off the pedestal you have set them upon. They are sinners like you and I. Their families have brokenness, whether they want to face it or not.

The only person who is perfect is Jesus Christ. Yes, we are called to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect, but that takes a lifetime to come close to accomplishing. In the meantime, we have to learn to accept our weaknesses, change what we can change, and love each other the best we can. I guess the script writer of Seabiscuit said it best, “You know, everybody thinks we found this broken-down horse and fixed him, but we didn’t. He fixed us. Every one of us. And I guess in a way we kinda fixed each other, too.”

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The Secret Multiplier

It is amazing what 5 pairs of hands can accomplish in a few hours. All of my children pitched in and helped my son and I remove old carpeting, carpet pad, tack board and staples from our dining room. When my son and I did this by ourselves in our front room, it felt like a very long, laborious process. We were glad we had each other, but it still took a long time.

Fast forward to last night. You have heard the adage, “Many hands make light work.” Well, we lived that last night. Suddenly, we had teams going with plans made for the best way to extract  staples quickly and efficiently. We also discovered “specialists” who had certain gifts. For example, my oldest daughter can yank out even the smallest nub of a broken staple, and did so with pride! And although there was some grumbling, mostly we were laughing and singing and joking.

I am thinking that when Jesus sent out his disciples in pairs of two, that was a really solid idea. They had each other to lean on or encourage when things got tough. But Jesus had an even more amazing plan than that. He established a Church. He wanted all people to experience community. Community is the great multiplier. Because when you have a solid faith community, suddenly you are able to accomplish way more for the glory of God than you could do on your own. Ten people do not equal just 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1, but more like an exponential multiplier, such as 10 to the 10th power or 10,000,000,000! Pretty awesome, I think. I felt a hint of that last night, just working on a simple project with 5 of my dearest people.