Broken Things…

At a garage sale this last weekend, I came across a box of geodes. You’ve seen geodes. They are sedimentary or volcanic rocks with cavities that hold beautiful crystals inside. The outside of a geode is ugly; but once you break it open, you see a formation of clear quartz or maybe purple amethyst crystals. Until you crack a geode open, it’s just a rock.

There are other things besides geodes that are more beautiful and valuable once they’ve been broken.

A broken heart. You won’t likely meet Princess or Princesses Charming at your first high school dance. You will fumble in your inexperience, you will love too quickly or in the wrong manner, and invariably your heart will be broken. But guess what? It won’t kill you. In fact, by learning what NOT to do and by learning what you do NOT want, you are one step closer to finding out what you need in a future relationship. And once your heart has been broken, you better recognize how to care for it next time.

A broken employer-employee contract. When my job was eliminated last year, I took some time to reflect on where I had been and what was next for me. For months, my internal monologue was “This stinks. This is unfair. This is a crushing blow.” Yup, all true. But you know what? The time I spent in self reflection was exactly what I needed to prevent me to rushing immediately into  a “job” instead of planning out the next phase of my life. Would I have asked for an unscheduled permanent unpaid vacation from work? Of course not. Was it the best thing for me? Absolutely. The breach in the employer/employee relationship opened me up to possibilities that I would have never considered had my job remained intact.

A broken will. Some people pride themselves by having a strong will. Those of us who work or live with these people don’t consider being strong-willed an attribute to boast about, and we tend to call these people “stubborn”, “bull-headed”, or other less flattering words. The technique for breaking a horse and breaking a human will is about the same: both the horse and the human must willingly give up the need to be in control. This happens at work when the boss asks you to do something you don’t want to do. This happens at home when your kids ask if you’ll take them to Chuck E Cheese for lunch. When you do what you are asked to do at work, or you do something special for your kids, you exercise your will. What makes subjecting your will beautiful and valuable is that it is a gift that you give, but it’s not one that any can require of you.

What are some other things that become more beautiful or valuable for the breaking?

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