Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A New Way to View Our Brokenness

There is a rather old story.  It involves a broken pitcher. Each day the pitcher was used to draw water at a well and was carried home.  Yet by the time it reached the house it was half empty.  Feeling very inadequate one day the pitcher spoke.  It apologized for being so inadequate and useless.  The man holding the pitcher knew the pitcher was broken but had a surprising response.  He brought the pitcher back along the path they had walked each day.  Along the side of the road where the broken pitcher had hung, there were flowers and vegetables that grew thanks to the water that fell from the pitcher.  On the other side of the road it was dry and bare.  The man explained that he knew of the cracks and defects in the pitcher but without such flaws such beauty would not have resulted as well as food for his family.

The discovery of this story in itself is a story.  Several weeks ago my son had brought a paper bag to the kitchen table where I was in the middle of eating or working but otherwise occupied.  Several times he asked me to read a story that was written on the bag.  Several times I had told him I would read it later.  That time unfortunately did not come.  Then this past Sunday he and I attended a Mother-Son retreat.  Having a defect of my own that involves a disability with my hands I can not carry a purse so the things we needed for the day were placed in a brown bag which my son carried.  When we got to the retreat we met one of the priests there.  To my surprise the first thing my son asked the priest was to read the brown bag he carried. The bag was something we received by chance to carry food from a store.  I still did not know what was on the bag.  Feeling a bit embarrassed that he should ask the priest to read something that appeared long I tried to discourage my son from persisting in having him read it. Several other mothers came over and I lost track of the situation.  A short time later at Mass the priest was speaking about Motherhood and how so often we come to this broken and feeling inadequate.  This resonated in my heart as this is often how I feel.  He mentioned the story of the broken pitcher.  The priest when on to share that even though we come to parenthood with faults it is okay, the Lord can work through these and still bring beautiful fruits.  The priest said our children see our faults and that is okay.  As he was speaking I looked over to one of the mothers, she is one of our Children's Rosary group leaders in another town.  I saw a tear roll down her face.  I too was moved in a very deep way as I was at the retreat hoping to grow in love toward all my children. After the Mass the priest approached both my son and I. He thanked my son for saving his homily.  I did not know what he meant.  He shared that the homily had come from the brown bag I had so many times passed over.  I began to think about my son.  One whom I was hoping to reach out to through the retreat.  A bright light began to shine in my heart.  The fact that my son had seen the story and wanted me to read it meant that he understood my faults and he was accepting me and then as I thought more I realized maybe it was also his way of  saying his cracks are there for a reason, too.  

Life is an interesting journey.  May I humbly share the first time I saw my son is in the picture to the right. He was 4 years old and the picture was taken shortly before we adopted him. We also adopted his biological sister from an orphanage in Kazakhstan.  In one day we went from having a one year old child at home to having three children ages 8, 4 and one.  In many ways we have stumbled along the journey in our parenting role but somehow this little story made me feel a lot better about all my own flaws and more accepting of those I encounter in my children. In the recent weeks I happened on this early picture.  It brought back wonderful memories from the first time we saw our little son who only spoke Russian at the time.  

Reflecting on the story, I am beginning to re-evaluate times when I feel I am a dissappointment to my children.  I would humbly invite others feeling less than they could be to to look at the broken vase above and all that lays beneath.  

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful reflection. I, too, have been feeling inadequate as a mother lately, and this was a welcome bit of encouragement. Thank you for sharing.