David wears his brokenness on the outside. He is missing fingers on his left hand, he’s extremely small for his age and he can’t speak with words. When we are out and about, we can’t hide his imperfections. They are obvious.
In the early days when David was an infant, I kept trying to think of a way to fix his brokenness. I wanted to make it okay. I wanted to make it better. But in the end, it is what it is. David has seven fingers, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t make more fingers grow. The only way to make it okay, was to accept it. To accept the brokenness and to let it hurt. To let it be imperfect. To let it be awful and dark and ugly. And then move forward in grace. In accepting the brokenness I have found hope and beauty. I’m learning that it’s by grace alone we face each day.
The amazing thing about wearing your brokenness on the outside is that it breaks down walls. I can’t pretend we are perfect—our imperfections are obvious. Our struggles are known to anyone we encounter. And somehow, I think it makes us more real and approachable.
Last week I was at the grocery store and a woman came over to me. “He’s adorable”, she said, referring to David, “How old is he?”
“He just turned ten”, I said, with pride and overflowing love. This conversation isn’t unusual. I love to have people engage in conversation with us when they see David’s differences. But on this particular day, the conversation took a turn I didn’t expect.
She looked at me with tears in her eyes, “My son committed suicide a few years ago.” Her eyes searched deep into mine, hoping that if she looked hard enough she could find understanding. She knew that my mommy heart had been broken too. She wondered if there is some kind of glue or tape or string that could help put it back together again.