Wednesday, June 15, 2016


For some unknown reason, this afternoon I found myself seated on top of the kitchen counter, right next to the sink while Mom dried clean dishes. Once again, it's back to hand washing dishes again at my house. The dishwasher is malfunctioning (seems everything is on the fritz) and hasn't been doing a thorough job of beautifying dirty dishes or delivering on the Bosch's promise of shine and sparkle. As a result we are, once again, washing all of the dishes by hand and towel drying them.
For some homeowners the thought of a dishwasher-less kitchen would be horrific enough to call in emergency services - namely the Maytag repair man. But not in my house. We are so accustomed to appliances with defective mechanics that to have an entire home completely defect free would be cause for mental alarms to sound. "Is this my home?" "Has someone broken into my home and fixed all of my busted appliance?" Certainly an appliance dependable home couldn't be my family's residence because our home sweet home has never known such a victory.
The saga of our malfunctioning machines goes back as far as my childhood memory. I can remember sitting in the very same kitchen (pre-remodel) and pasting stickers on the dead placeholder of a dishwasher that sat for years without every being put through a cycle to clean a single dish. The machine had been long broken and was never fixed. Years after the dinosaur sticker frenzy of my youth a new machine came in to replace it when the kitchen was remodeled and made bright white. The brown and yellow 1980's hunk of junk went to the landfill by way of a dumpster. 
As I sat atop the counter watching Mom return to her dishwashing role, this time thanks to her deadbeat stainless steel edition, we chatted about my latest list of symptoms. Spasms have been topping the list. Even while we spoke I was rubbing essential oils into my left leg's flaring muscles in an attempt for some relief. I could see the frustration on Mom's face and I knew it had nothing to do with the dishwasher. Like me, she has been searching for answers to my symptoms. Every new bulging vein and tight muscle is another reminder that we still haven't solved the mystery just yet. 
Before Mom's words could journey into laments and aggravation, the white salad plate resting in her hands took on a life of its own. At least that's what seemed to transpire. The plate lifted from Mom's fingertips and, in what appeared to be slow motion, soared into the air before it came twisting and twirling down to the wood floor beneath where it went on to shatter into a thousand pieces. Both Mom and I looked at each other in shock and amazement. It had been a Matrix moment as we watched the accident occur but were helpless to stop the impending crash. 
It was there from my perch on the counter, looking down at the shattered pieces of white porcelain, that I saw the tragedy of Multiple Sclerosis. We, the suffering, and the one's who love us, watch as our bodies go lifting up and out of health and into imminent danger. Peril lies just below with the body careening towards its doom. And no one can stop it. No one can even put their fingers on it. Everything about MS eludes professionals and lay-men alike. There is little explanation for how the body went flying off in the wrong direction and there are no answers for stopping the descent. The crash happens and no one can step in and stop it. 
As I watched Mom grab the broom and sweep up the broken bits from the floor and off of the rug I saw not only the tragedy of MS but the hope in it too. Broken bodies don't have to be the end of the story. The pieces of the physical life's brokenness can be put together to make something absolutely glorious. Artists have famously done just that with broken pieces of pottery, beach glass and porcelain. The visionary collects the broken bits, both big and small, and puts them together to make a new creation, a new image, a new picture. From the brokenness something beautiful is created. 
God has the same artistic vision for the brokenness caused by an MS shattering. God has this amazing ability to take the broken pieces and refit them together to make a life abundantly more beautiful than  before. He does it with love and with grace. He refines the hard places and softens them in His new design. He replaces rough edges with renewed love and grace. The resulting creation is so glorious that what once was a whole plate... a fully functioning body... is a distant memory. The new creation is so lovely that the old actually loses its appeal. Only the beauty of the new work of art is to be desired. 
I've been shattered like that plate but God is putting back together my broken pieces to craft something new and wonderful. I can't wait to see what He creates because I know that it is going to be infinitely better than the white plate of a girl I once was. 

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