I was quite surprised by the two words I chose to go with this picture of an eggshell: broken and hopeful. Those of you who know a bit about the Enneagram will understand that as a type 4 – the tragic romantic – I find it extremely easy to identify with the idea of myself as broken and flawed; I naturally find it much harder to relate to feeling hopeful, although remarkably that feeling has crept up on me slowly over the years and I realise I have become a far more hopeful person than I used to be.
Today I want to reflect a little on how these two words might go together.
There is hope when my idea of who I really am is broken. I can feel pain when I discover that I am not as kind or loving or mature or wise as I had believed, but there is also hope: perhaps this is a step on the path leading to a new wholeness, where both my light and my dark sides can be recognised and integrated.
There is hope when my expectations, wishes and dreams are shattered. Sometimes a dream comes to a sudden, fatal close, and sometimes there is a gradual realisation that this particular dream will never happen: I will not become a ballet dancer when I grow up, I will never have flawless skin or a bikini-perfect body. But perhaps that leads to a greater hope that one day I will throw caution to the wind, and, pirouetting down that sandy beach with my stretchmarks and pale, veiny legs on display, I won’t give a moment’s thought to how I look because I will be 100% in the joyous moment.
There is hope when my view of God shifts, or fragments like a kaleidoscope. Any solid, totally explainable, wordy, neat and tidy image I have of God is bound to be too small and therefore inaccurate. There is hope in lightly holding those little fragments that still make sense and trusting that they are part of a much bigger picture you are slowly becoming more able to be aware of.