Where do they look for healing and guidance when the wise are broken? Some of our most common ways of responding to our own brokenness in the frantic American culture are the use of distractions like shopping, scouring the minute-by-minute Facebook posts and tweets and emails and texts, eating, watching movies and television, using drugs like alcohol, staying overtime at work, and did I mention eating? We are specialists in distracting and numbing our feelings. But what about when the wise are broken?
“No escape” could be the motto of the wise when brokenness comes. Face it, claim it, accept it, and look deeply into the nature of the brokenness as it arises: that is the work of the wise when they are at their best. When everything in us wants to run, we take a stand. We enter our own vulnerability. And perhaps most importantly, we surrender our brokenness into the care of the divine.
I have known many forms of breaking over my first 58 years, and I am standing in some brokenness now. Pain arises when it wants to, and any addictive efforts to numb it just magnify pain in the end. So when the automatic pilot in me wants numbness, a wiser sense calls for several simple steps: I see that I need a power greater than myself, I begin to believe that there is a power who can heal, and I turn my life and my will over to the care of God, as I understand God.
These steps are simple but not easy. In fact, I cannot take them without help. So instead of avoiding my weakness or being ashamed of it, I claim it: “I am weak. You are strong.” And as the old Christian hymn goes: “I’ll be satisfied as long as I walk, let me walk, close to Thee.” For me this walking includes sharing my need with accepting friends.
It turns out that the gate of heaven opens when we face our weakness, surrender our efforts to control things, share our needs in community, and come home to being present in the One. May we find our way home right now.
For more writing like this see Monks in the World: Seeking God in a Frantic Culture.