This is a candle holder I got for my birthday. The picture doesn’t do it’s beauty much justice compared to how it looks to me right now, twinkling away on my chest of drawers, casting interesting patterns across the wall and filling the room with the smell of calming candley wonderment, but even if I can’t show you it’s true glory in person, it is still currently my favourite part of the ever-developing bedroom decor, and I feel like I should just share why that is (as well as highlighting that it is possible to get radical, life changing epiphanies through home furnishings!).
When I first opened the candle holder last Saturday I must admit, I was a bit sceptical as to whether I would use it. I like to think of my room as an ongoing project as I am slowly trying to make it feel like my own again after my travels over the past year, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about this new addition that I hadn’t personally chosen to become part of my beloved Holly Cave. “Is it meant to be like that?” I asked mum as I noticed the cracks in the glass, trying to think where I would fit this great cylinder on my already chaotic work surfaces. Was this thing really even my style? This mismatched object with different coloured pieces and seemingly no real purpose looked pretty out of place against mum’s lovely pink co-ordinating room to me. Maybe I could subtly ask for the receipt in a few days…
“Just wait a minute Hol!”. Thankfully I think mum read my expression before I had even made my mind up about it, as she was already getting a candle to put inside and some matches before I could reply. Sure enough, a minute later the candle was lit, the light was shining through the glass and I had to tell myself off for being so quick to judge because it genuinely looked like a completely different object altogether! The light behind the glass made the colours so much more vivid and even the different sized cracks and imperfections brought the whole look of the candle together (Dunelm Mill job vacancies, here I come). It really was lovely.
I immediately fell in love with my new gift when the candle was inside, but the real pièce de résistance was when I moved it into my room later on. It was dark at this point so I left the lights off, cleared a space on my chest of drawers and lit it; then proceeded to stare at it, lost deep in thought for about two hours. I am not joking, it is genuinely mesmerising! It looked nice in my mum’s room but amongst all my other mis-matched boho-esque items it is absolutely perfect. It has only been a week and a half since my birthday and already I need a new candle – I can’t help staring at it for hours before I got to sleep most nights, and the more I look at it the more I love it!
So why am I wittering on about this flipping candle? This was only meant to be a short post about light and dark but as I began writing it, God started to unravel so many thoughts about brokenness, purpose and beauty. So keeping that little story in mind, here we go…
Whoever you are reading this, whatever walk of life you’re from, and whether you have an interest in God or not, I’m sure at some point in life you have found yourself feeling broken. Whether we’ve been smashed by other people’s opinions, torn by broken relationships, collapsed under material desire, consumed by lust, wrecked with grief, ruined by debt, fragmented by illness, crippled with apathy, shattered by loneliness, overwhelmed with stress, damaged by addiction, held down by depression, overloaded by guilt or something else entirely, no human has it together for 100% of the time. Brokenness is no picnic and whether they are big or small things that break us, I’m betting feeling broken is not a place any of us would choose to be in given the option.
Healing the Hurt
When we are faced with times in life that turn our world upside down, we can be left in pieces in the aftermath; often feeling ugly, hurt, ashamed and without purpose. It is in these times that we are most vulnerable, and in desperate need of healing and restoration. We know we do not want to feel the pain of being broken any longer so we start to find ways to make us feel better, and these can come in a variety of forms, whether they are temporary quick fixes or more substantial methods which are built to last. (see my friend Tony’s blog for 3 glorious posts on handling pain: https://peoplebeingreal.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/handling-pain-part-1/)
There are many things we can do that may give the appearance that we have been fixed when really we are still are hurting on the inside.
I remember when I was dealing with the brokenness of grief when my dad passed away a few years ago. I thought I had to look brave and be super happy all the time because I was a Christian and I needed to use this as a time to let people know that God can get you through anything right…right?! The irony was, I wasn’t actually letting God help me through it at all. I felt too broken, the light had gone out on the inside and I was actually avoiding God with all my might because I was seriously angry at him. Nobody else noticed because I appeared fixed on the outside and that actually stopped me from getting the help and support I needed from other people.
There are so many ways we can try to heal our hurts without really fixing anything. Getting stuck into work, putting on a brave face, running away, prolonging the pain, numbing it, avoiding it, withdrawing, eating, smoking, drinking, partying, shopping, drugs, sleeping, sex, relationships, reading, music and playing video games are just some of the huge list of ways we can try to snatch the glue out of God’s hands and fix the cracks ourselves. These things may make us feel good or like we are in control for a short while but really they could potentially just be adding to our pile of broken pieces. Trying to fix emotional pain with physical solutions doesn’t add up and even if we may still look okay aesthetically when we patch things up ourselves, we are actually still hollow on the inside and living without the light that is needed to make us whole again.
It’s really easy to do things that make us feel good in the moment – as someone who is in the process of ditching her emotional relationship with food, alcohol and dodgy relationships with guys, I can 100% vouch for this! The problem is, these things have a nasty habit of spiralling out of control and becoming our primary coping strategies for future pain. Temporary pain fixes will never quite satisfy us, so the more we use them, the more we crave them when they’re not around, and this can lead to a pattern of addiction and other huge problems. If the glue that is holding us together is the cheap, non-reliable stuff from the discount shop, then the next time we encounter breakage, we are going end up in tinier pieces than when we first started. It’s clear we need some stronger, long-lasting adhesive if we want to stay in tact the next time trouble hits.
Part 2 explains this a bit more: