being broken is okay, really

I was inspired by a post recently that brought to mind an issue I want to talk about.

Many of us have these people in our lives, or we used to, the people who want to "Fix" everything and make it all better".

I think when people want to fix us, it’s either one of two things. They either care deeply for us and don’t want us to be in a bad place because, if they were in that same place, they wouldn’t want to be there either so they see themselves as the white knight in shining armor, willing and able to rescue us from the bad things that plague our minds and hearts. As someone once said "good intentions aren’t enough" or "the road to hell is paved with good intentions". Maybe I’m just a little bitter on this point because, in my life I’ve had people want to fix me, which brings me to the second reason I think people do this shit.

They couldn’t imagine living with whatever the condition is so they project that unbelief on the person they’re trying to fix and rationalize their good intentions by pulling us out of our brokenness, believing that they’ve done a good and noble thing because well, since fixer person couldn’t imagine living that way or they don’t know how they could possibly live if that happened to them, then it feels pretty damned good to them to save someone from a life of unimaginable pain, sadness or disability that they themselves desperately want to avoid ever happening to them.

When I used to go to church, I would have people come up to me all the time, put their hands on my eyes and pray that I would get my sight back. this has always been a topic of contention for me because, in my mind, that one gesture spoke volumes about their lack of acceptance about who someone really was and where they were really at, regardless of the lip service they would pay to the claim that "Our congregation loves people where they are at" a cliché phrase to bring people into the fold and bolster their church attendance numbers so they can one up the church on the next block or in the next city. It’s a competition to them under the guise of good intentions of wanting to heal the sick and crowd around people who they see as broken so they can give witness to a miracle from a god they believe exists.

In my case, they forgot the chapter and verses in the book of John where it says "And His disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him."

The question then becomes, is it the work of the congregation to heal the man to glorify their God as it would seem is written or is it a bigger and greater work of accepting something that may not be understood and realizing that the person is just like themselves, someone with need for community, someone with desire, someone with dreams but someone who isn’t exactly like the statistically average.

I would say that it is the latter.

Let me be a part of your church community if I want to be, let me help, let me make the coffee for the coffee bar, I’m really good at it and just because they couldn’t imagine themselves ever doing anything so complex because they lost physical sight, and they would assume that their lives would be over if that occurred, the truth is that the opposite would happen. They would adapt and find different, not better ways to do things. but I think it’s the fear of how they would react to their own personal and existential tragedy that moves them to want to have that same tragic event or state of being removed from the people they either really love or claim to accept as they are.

stepping off my theological and philosophical soapbox for a minute, I remember once, years ago, when I was just standing in my bedroom crying, I can’t remember why and the wife said "I wish I could just wave a magic wand and fix it for you".

Through my tears I sobbed "but you can’t>" and I think that’s all she needed to hear to know that she could never fix me or even try anymore because, as moody and short-tempered as I can sometimes be, and as much as I complain about the laziness of some people and that the kids don’t ever listen, at the core of all that, I know that she accepts me how I am, even if she can’t cognitively or logically understand a lot of it.

Exercising and eating right, though I know I need to do more of both, aren’t a cure all for depression or in my case, dysthymia and when people say "you just need to eat better" or "You just need to exercise to get those endorphins moving through your system" those words minimize and devalue my condition externally giving voice to the harsh criticism that often plagues my mind because I do have a critical voice inside that sometimes says that I’m not good enough or that I should try harder and the like.

I don’t know if all this makes sense but those are my thoughts and I’ll close with a final one.

I am not a project to be worked on, I am a person first and foremost because if you take away all the skills, and all the potential and everything else and said "Who are you" the answer would undoubtedly be "I am me."



2 thoughts on “being broken is okay, really

  1. a couple of comments.

    1. i do believe my wife cares about me. sometimes it’s just the wrong type of care. solutions vs. just being there are two types of care just like a bandaid and a cast are two types of care. No one would ever think of using a bandaid for a broken arm. in a similar fashion, just being there is far more appropriate than just another potential solution at times. the number of times one or the another is appropriate depends on the person receiving the care.

    2. maybe you can’t fix me is better than the words i chose, “just hold me.” That holds for about 6 minutes until I hear, “i feel like i’m not doing anything.” for some reason the just hold me doesn’t sound like a fix, but often time doing that is far more beneficial than any suggestion.


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