Broken systems don't have to break me. This is the thought that puts me to bed, wakes me in the morning, trickles down my face in the shower, and catches up with me all day long.

The wind has been knocked out of so many of my sails: dreams of missionary life, family life, marriage, motherhood, sisterhood--all of these great callings thwarted by circumstances and systems that don't work like the manual said they would. I think of nights heaving on a cement floor and a subsequent plane ride back from Central America nursing my Gatorade and my pride. I think of nights weeping on various apartment floors, wanting an intact family. I think of evenings on a front porch swing, talking, deciding, breaking, hurting, leaving, and finally healing. I think of crashed disappointments and fallen hopes; methodical plans that ended in chaos.

And I think, in the end, it is better to have seen the system break, than to see a person break.

Systems can be remade. Remodeled. Redone.

People have to have the wind knocked out of them, crumble to the floor, confess that their hope isn't in the sail at all, but in the Wind--and that never stops blowing.

Want to hear a secret?

I don't have this figured out--I'm figuring some things out this week. That's my plan. I want to explore Purple Hearts and walking wounded. I want to understand why the Israelites still don't eat the hipbone. I want to think about how very badly I don't want to be a victim, but I always want to remember the grace that pulled me through it all.

So over the next week I'm assigning myself this topic: suffering.

Don't have grand illusions, I'm weak in this area and I promise no great illuminations. I promise that I'll read and pray and think and then write.

February 2008