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All the king’s horses and all the king’s men

by Andrea Updyke

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On the way to school this morning, Oscar asked me a question. Is Freddy* a bad kid? You see, this is his first day back from Spring Break and he seems to have a little anxiety about this particular child. We learned over the course of the break that (according to Oscar) Freddy is in the habit of taking toys from other kids. I happen to think this is true because I witnessed it when I was there for Oscar’s first day. Still, I had to pause and decide my answer.

I replied, No sweetie, Freddy is not a bad kid. He is just learning how to be a good friend just like you are. Sometimes it takes kids longer to learn how to do things, but that doesn’t make him a bad kid.

Oscar seemed satisfied with this answer for now. Of course, if they weren’t 3 years old, my answer might be different. But today, I think this is true. I want Oscar to learn how to extend grace to his fellow toddler, if such a thing is possible.

As I drove away from his school thinking of our conversation, I realized this is a good lesson for me too. On the tail of a wonderful whirlwind of Easter activities culminating with a beautiful worship service, I find myself face to face with the beauty of brokenness. As I said last week, I think it’s not only ok to ask for help, it’s necessary both physically and spiritually.

Brokenness is seen so often as something to avoid. Something like Humpty Dumpty where if we break there is nothing anyone can do about it. Not even all the kings horses or his men could fix Humpty’s shattered life. So we try to avoid breaking at all. If we don’t break in the first place, then we won’t have to endure the inevitable failure of not being put back together.

Except that beauty lies in the brokenness. Because with the shattered pieces and torn fabric of our past selves, we are knit back together in a beautiful all encompassing mosaic that is not only lovely, but stronger. And despite my best efforts in going it alone, this is one thing I can’t do by myself. I need my friends. I need my family. I need Jesus to do this. And if I am honest, I really don’t like admitting it.

What a beautiful thing that even my stubborn brokenness is met with grace.

We are all learning how to be gracious to each other. And yes, some of us take longer to learn this lesson than others. I am thankful for the beautiful message of Easter. The unbroken One taking on all pain and suffering so that I could be made whole. That I could be made beautiful.

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put me back together again.

But the King can. And He did. 

It’s a lesson I am slow in learning, but that doesn’t make me (or you) a bad kid.

How can we be gracious to each other today?

*name changed to protect the innocent

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3 comments

Jenn B. April 10, 2012 - 9:45 am

So hard sometimes to admit we’re not on the right path with God, and no one else can determine that but us. I will be praying for you that He gives you the comfort and encouragement that you are seeking. I’m here for you if you ever want to chat, we’re never perfect but there’s strength and accountability in numbers right?!?! xoxo

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