On Being Forever Broken

[ 8 ] Comments

by Stephen R. Marsh

(CC) Jerry Reynolds

I work very hard at trying to be positive.  I am intentional in looking for good and for hope in my life, in spite of things that seem like massive failures to me.  I do that to the extent that often, I am certain, I annoy those closest to me by seeing positive things that may not be there. I often focus on the trends that are rising or improving, in myself and in others, in reasons to be positive.

When I’m sick I try not to burden others with it.  Usually, with a little medicine and some rest, it will pass.  Sometimes it doesn’t (ok, I admit, it took me almost three years to go in to see someone about an inflamed rotator cuff.   It took less than a week of following the advice I got for it to go away).

However, I have to admit that I also see the negative.  I am not unaware that there are counter efforts.  I see my own failings and hear them.  That is, because, in my heart I am certain that I am permanently broken.

Some of my feelings of being broken are real.  When I heard in grief groups that the pain of the loss of a child stays with you forever, it did not really sink in for a very long time.  My wife and I buried three children in a five year period, all from different causes.  Faced with death and loss like that, you cope and you recover, but the loss remains.  My three girls, Jessica, Courtney, and Robin, are with me in the change of the seasons and in every evolution of my life.  In a way, part of me will always be broken with their deaths, until the resurrection unites us.

Some of the feeling of being broken is a recognition of personal limitation because I cannot improve fast enough, understand quickly enough, meet other’s needs well enough, be enough, all the time.  It is just part of being mortal and human.  There is never enough time to do everything, perfectly, to solve every problem, to succeed at every endeavor that catches one’s attention.

Some of what leads to failures in my life is a lack of aptitude.  I have a terrible lack of skill for mechanical things, though I am getting better with practice.  My father had a similar difficulty, though he was put in a career field by the military that required mechanical thinking.  That burdened him his entire time in the military.  Beyond mechanical things, in so many areas of my life I lack aptitude.  My youngest child before she could talk would reach over and cover my mouth during songs at church.  There is a reason I am not in the ward choir.

Some of my falling short is the result of wasting time with reading or television equivalents (more reading — I admit, I read essays and on-line material instead of watching television) or games.  I’m probably consuming about ten hours a week on that sort of thing, in recreation that I really do not need.

But much of why I fall short is that I am broken in the way that we are all broken, which is why we all need Christ.  Without Christ we are forever broken.  But with him, our hope is not in vain.  Our sorrow is not forever.  The negative can be overcome.

By and of myself I am nothing.  But in Christ I have hope that does not fail.  Forever.

(cc) midiman

  • When are the times you found new hope through Christ?
  • Are there things about your life that you think will always remain broken and hopeless?
  • Do you ever look at others and ask yourself how they cope and improve?
  • Have you ever experienced Christ providing you with hope, allowing you to overcome?  Does the memory of that help you now and when you face new trials and problems?

8 Responses to On Being Forever Broken

  1. Paul says:

    Stephen, so glad you are here.

    For myself, it is difficult not to feel broken when my children do not succeed in the way I wish they would, particularly relative to gospel promises and covenants. I do not know why it is easier for me to accept my own inadequacies in my own life, but not in theirs, and to try to take on responsibility for decisions that are theirs, not mine, but there you are.

    This is a lovely essay and a lovely reminder of where we can turn for peace. Thanks.

  2. Stephen R. Marsh says:

    Paul, children are so hard. Look at Alma and his struggles with his only son, and that son’s trials with his sons. I wish you the best, and peace.

    • Paul says:

      Yes, you are right.

      • MSKeller says:

        I feel like that at times, but then I remember that a third part of FATHER’s children didn’t do what he wanted either, and I breathe a bit easier. I like choice, even if it isn’t always the choice I wanted to occur.

  3. Cheryl says:

    Oh, I appreciate this a lot. I am constantly aware of my failures, and I see my weakness as sin (which, I know, in my brain, is not true). I’m also very hard on myself when I do make a mistake or do sin –I see it as failure. It is so hard to remind myself that by assuming I should never sin or fail, it’s like saying I don’t need the Atonement. How unfair is that? Not only do I need the Atonement, He’s already suffered for my mistakes –why in the world would I refuse to allow Him to help me? I truly struggle with this, though.

  4. Lisa says:

    I love that Christ gives us hope. I try to find positive and blessings in all things. It can be very discouraging to me when others spread the message of doom and gloom. As followers of Christs, we are to look to Christ with a perfect brightness of hope. That’s all I can do…

  5. MSKeller says:

    Stephen, as the ‘am I enough’ queen (feels that is my mantra these days) I loved this. Perhaps we just need to be reminded over and over that we aren’t supposed to be perfect all by ourselves.

    The worst thing about being divorced, is that you are forever ‘broken’ from that eternal dream of a cozy little family with mom/ dad and kids. It is getting better, but there is always that pang of the loss of the dream.

    Our lesson today was on the coming of Christ to the Americas and I loved the teacher’s comment that His first words were to remind them about his suffering. Perhaps to share with them and connect, but also to remind them that he has done it. It is finished. So must I remember this again and again and again, and trust it. Thank you for being so open. This is a wonderful place.

  6. My thanks to everyone for their comments.

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