Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas in the Land of Broken

I am living in the Land of Broken. Today, my office blind won’t release the catch, so it’s going to stay up all night. This morning my computer technician told me my audio port is broken. Yesterday, the vacuum gave off that distinct burnt rubber aroma. Last week our favorite lamp smashed to the floor.

Broken is disappointment. At the least, it’s an interruption in my plans. Plans to close the blinds, finish the audio CD I’m making for a Christmas gift, clean the house for company. At most, it’s the sense I’m not good enough, don’t have enough, and will go broke trying to fix the broken things.

The other day I was listening to that old Cat Stevens song, “Moon Shadow.”

If I ever lose my hands . . . I won’t have to work no more.
If I ever lose my eyes . . . I won’t have to cry no more.
And if I ever lose my legs . . . I won’t have to walk no more.
If I ever lose my mouth . . . I won’t have to talk no more.

There’s something beautiful in letting go of the fear of loss. In knowing, whatever breaks, you’ll have a new and lovely replacement – even if it’s just the freedom not to have to work, strive, walk, talk. There’s a similar letting go by Job, who suffered tremendous loss, in the Biblical account: “The Lord gave, the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”

For many years, I didn’t accept loss. I denied it, fought it, strove against it. Now I’ve come to see that the only thing we can truly ever lose is our happiness. Meanwhile, all the trappings of our lives trick us into thinking they are what make us happy.

The greatest gift is acknowledging that my happiness comes from a deeper source. It isn’t dependent on circumstances. I know this sounds simple, but it really is something you can practice - it’s changing my outlook. It isn’t conditional upon “getting all my stuff done.” All I need is that Presence, that Moon Shadow, that reminder that Love is here to bring joy amidst all the broken things.