Chandra’s studio was behind the house, off the garage.
It was not a large space but precious and close—full of potential and possibility. Ceiling to floor, rough shelves held pebbles, shards of china, ceramic, and sea glass. Buckets and bowls of color, beguiling bits of color, in every hue and form.
The table in the center, covered in dabs of creations from another day, held jars of brushes and tools. There was always a vase of flowers and green—whatever was blooming at the time, daisies or daffodils or just a few spears of fern—sunshine and friendship in a vase.
Each night, we arrived at the redwood gate weary from the day, burdened by the duties of work and motherhood, or simply bruised by life. Chandra would throw open the door, her curls catching the porch light like a halo. Stepping inside, we crossed the threshold into healing.
We stood at the shelves, sifting through bowls and boxes of magic and sea glass, selecting pattern and texture that we began to lay across concrete stepping stones placed upon the table. Each piece began as something else—a plate, a dish, a tile. Now broken shards, they were nothing until we began to shift and turn them on the table.
One by one, shapes emerged from the broken, disassembled bits, and in the process, healing began.
It had been a year of loss for me. Mom’s death marked the end of an arduous journey. Three years later, the wounds were still fresh. Two dear friends moved in cross-country job relocations, both to Tennessee, and I was certain that Franklin was a horrid place, to have taken them both. When my Dad left for France, I took the pieces that broke off with that news and placed them next to the others: the sharp edges of my mother’s death, the broken china of that shattered life, carefully positioned next to the bitterness of other unrealized expectations.
Over the course of weeks and months, hope emerged amidst the cuts and crags and broken edges.
The others who sat with me on stools around the studio bore their own wounds. We reassembled the broken bits of our lives at that work-worn table. With friendship and prayer, we took the pieces and put them back together, into patterns of blue, coral, and green. What was useless became lovely—flowers and birds pieced of pottery and sea glass. A glossy bead here, a worn pebble there. Mosaics of our lives, set into mastic and concrete.
The finished result was always a thing of beauty. What was broken now whole, no less beautiful for the jagged lines and edges around each and every unique fragment. No longer just a pile of broken shards, each stepping stone was a testament to time and prayer, friendship and healing. We left with our prizes more peaceful than we came, nourished by the lamplight and conversation. Something happened there at that table, as we pieced back our lives. The grout smeared into the grooves served to seal our wounds. We arrived broken, but we left whole.
Our lives, our brokenness, our flaws and failures are precisely what God designed to reflect a perfect love.
Life, disassembled and reassembled into a thing of beauty, reflecting his love, a manifestation of grace. Like the mosaics in the studio: what was broken, now whole, no less beautiful for the jagged lines and edges around each and every unique fragment.
Those lines in between the cracks, those are how the Light shines through.
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