Monday, August 31, 2009

Broken But Still Valued

I dragged myself into MD Anderson for radiation. I really thought radiation would be a breeze after chemo, but I find myself totally exhausted. I was already looking forward to going home for a nap. I looked across the street at the hospital where I worked and longed for the days when I went into work at 5:30 am and had boundless energy, enough to last until 7:30 that evening. Now I couldn't fathom the idea. Those days seemed to filled with purpose and value. This day would consist of having enough energy to get ready for radiation, go downtown for the treatment, go home for a nap, eat some dinner and go to bed. Not much value in that, I thought.

So often, we place our value in what we do, instead of who we are. Consider, the injured football player, who is now in a wheelchair. The 70 year old man, who retires after 50 years of working. The mother, whose last child leaves for college. Consider the surgeon whose wrinkled hands begin to shake. The elderly woman who can't see well enough to pass her driver's test. And, the wife who has cared for her ill husband for many years and suddenly finds herself a widower.

My good friend, Pat, gave me a book last week. She felt so compelled to give me this book that she drove over to my house in a mean thunderstorm. Little did she know that there was a message in there that I needed to hear. The Book was called "The Fingerprints of God" and in it was this beautiful story.

Broken But Still Valued

During my college years, a friend of mine gave me a very special gift. It was a beautiful Lladro porcelain figurine of a woman, with slender lines, adorned with a graceful hat and a vase of flowers. This delicate Lladro moved from city to city, from home to home, with my husband and me for the first seven years of marriage. It was one of my most treasured possessions.

One fateful afternoon, though, our four year old son was playing a game of hide- and- seek near the table where the Lladro gracefully stood. A bump of the table sent her to the floor, chipping the tips of the petals on her flowers. We glued her dainty pieces back together as best we could, but her bouquet was never the same.

Many years have passed. Another city, another home. My beautiful Lladro has followed, and she still finds her home in our living room. I often wonder why I value her so - why she has a place of honor on my mantel.

She's flawed.
She's no longer smooth.
She's no longer perfect.
She's surely lost all monetary value.

I've come to realize that I value her because she reminds me of a person I know. I too am broken. I am imperfect. I've lost my slender lines. My bouquet has been chipped. In fact we're all broken. We're all flawed.

This story so vividly reminds me that in God's eyes I am still valued even though I may feel broken. When I place my worth in what I do, I will always be disappointed. The purpose God has for me in life has nothing to do with being perfect or unblemished. For, if I am willing, He will accomplish His purpose despite my flaws. And He values me enough to carry me in His Arms wherever He goes.