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Some things are better broken

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Some things are better broken. It’s being broken that makes some things what they are, and I’m not just talking about the eggs in an omelet.

The armless Venus de Milo is one of the great classic sculptures.

The Liberty Bell would be ho-hum and less symbolic without its crack.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa would draw few tourists if it weren’t askew.

No, Napoleon’s soldiers didn’t shoot off the Sphinx’s nose with a cannonball, but that missing protuberance is legendary.

Each of these misshapen items is a cultural treasure in large part because of its brokenness. If they were whole, they’d lack much of their significance.

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The same is true of us.

My 12-year-old son had turned to my wife and said, “Mama, is Papa going to be OK?”

I had come home from the hospital exhausted after a long couple days that had included caring for the family of a boy my son’s age who’d been killed in a car accident.

I turned to him and smiled. “There’s two kinds of broken,” I said. “There’s a bad kind and a good kind. My job is breaking me right now, but I think it’s in a good way. Bad breaks make you harder and colder and more bitter. But I think this break is making me softer and warmer and sweeter. Just let me know if you see me breaking the wrong way, OK?”

A mosaic is a beautiful thing made up of broken things. In a world of bad breaks — broken promises, broken hearts, broken bodies, broken homes — God has the uncanny ability of making good things out of ragged pieces.

It’s my goal in life to be a mosaic, broken and remade so that each crack and shard reflects the glories of my Maker that much more.

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Detail of “In the beginning”