Broken, Tattered, Beautiful

The Monarch butterfly travels thousands of miles and weathers countless storms--but it remains beautiful.

The Monarch butterfly travels thousands of miles and weathers countless storms–but it remains beautiful.

I wandered the halls of the huge hospital, looking for a chapel. For the past ten hours Pedro had been convulsing and incoherent. After the first episode (less than 24 hours after his arrival at UCSF via air ambulance), the doctors had moved him to a critical care unit.

I had functioned on so little sleep for so long that my every action seemed disembodied. I couldn’t seem to grasp the simplest directions (such as how to push an elevator button and get off on the correct floor), yet I refused to ask for help—to ask for a chapel would smack of a helpless, defeated attitude.

But I needed a chapel. I finally saw a small sign that led to a miniscule chapel that turned out to be devoid of people. Perfect.

“Why did you open up a bed at a hospital where the doctors would know how to treat Pedro,” I shouted in a whisper to God. “And yet he hasn’t responded to my voice since last night? That makes him worse, not better, doesn’t it, God?”

I clutched a notebook in my lap and stared blankly at my record of what had transpired in the past 12 hours. I had sat in the critical care unit and faithfully recorded Pedro’s every move and snippets of the words he spoke. He babbled about students he’d taught three years ago. He moaned incoherent words while he sat up and swung his legs over the hospital bed.

“Is THIS better?” I asked God. “We traveled so far. YOU arranged for the miracle that brought us here.” I allowed a few self-pitying tears to slip out of my eyes.

I know the plans I have for you, my child,” a voice whispered in the silence of the miniscule chapel. “And the plans I have for him.

I sank into the seat and let the tears flow freely. I felt battered, broken and unable to fight any longer. I looked down at the notebook again, and realized that my efforts would do nothing. Me keeping track of Pedro’s every movement through the long hours of the night would not change the outcome of his condition—it would not heal his cancer or give the doctors insight into how to treat it.

Any healing that took place would happen because God ordained it. I would have to shed my obsession that MY efforts kept him alive in between God’s miracles. The journey might take a long time. I might come out the other end feeling even more battered and broken.

But I knew now that broken IS beautiful—as long as the broken pieces and tattered thoughts rested in the light of his love.

I returned to the hospital room to wait for the next part of my journey towards beautiful.

Where has your journey towards beautiful led you?

I’m joining Holley Gerth and other bloggers for coffee this morning—coffee for your heart. Join us?  Coffee-for-Your-Heart-150
I’m also linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee and Tell His Story

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • Beautifully written words. I appreciate so much the glimpses these blog posts give me into the way God was with you and Dad throughout the cancer!
    Laura Melchor recently posted…A Rambling Recap of the Last Week and a HalfMy Profile

    • :). It’s about time I start telling all of the stories, isn’t it?!

  • I’m in a season of learning to embrace the beauty of brokenness. You’re right, if we’ll just look a little closer, we will see God’s beauty and the light of His love.

    • Thank you for stopping by, Chavos–I enjoyed your post today (but I might be blind because I couldn’t figure out how to comment 🙁 ). May God be with you and keep revealing your beautiful to you as you stand at the kitchen sink and listen.

  • Broken is beautiful. Such powerful words and so very true if we can remember to hold onto that truth when so much around us screams something different. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Sacred gifts indeed.
    Makeda recently posted…You’re Not Alone {Coffee for Your Heart}My Profile

    • Thank you for stopping by for a ‘cup of coffee’, Makeda :). There’s a reason I quit buying magazines and watching television–the screaming got too loud ;). My prayer is that we’ve raised our daughters to shut out the screams and listen to the voice of love and that I can teach the same message to my students.

  • “But I knew now that broken IS beautiful—as long as the broken pieces and tattered thoughts rested in the light of his love.” So sweet. I can picture you in that empty chapel resting in love in the midst of such powerful unknowns…keep telling your story 🙂
    Abby recently posted…Pure Passion :: From Duty to Beauty {Sex in Marriage}My Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by, Abby :). And thank you for your kind words of encouragement.

  • Michelle Anderson

    You talk to God the way I do when I’m upset. This is really encouraging. I’m grateful God is big enough for me to shout at him. I’m grateful he lets me and I’m grateful he can take it and he loves me anyway.

    • I’ve always loved the Psalms ;). God is big enough for all of our emotions and he loves us anyway. Now that’s good news!

  • Anita,
    So grateful God led you to the chapel and for how He met you in your brokenness ….what beauty and hope you now can give to others through sharing your story…Thank you 🙂
    Dolly@Soulstops recently posted…On how you redefine successMy Profile