I have a long way to go in seeing the value of brokenness in others. I have even further in seeing the value of brokenness in myself. Yet, I’m convinced that it is brokenness and not strength that draws sinners compellingly to the Savior, and always will be.
Henri Nouwen is one of my heroes not because he wrote a ton of books, attended and taught in some of our nation’s most prestigious schools, but because he chose to leave all that behind (literally) and live with those who were not capable of being impressed with outward success, diplomas or accomplishments. He moved in to L’Arche simply in order to live with a community of handicapped adults and learn to love and be loved. Listen to this:
“The first thing that struck me when I came to live in a house for mentally handicapped people was their liking or disliking me had absolutely nothing to do with any of the many useful things I had done until then. Since nobody could read my books, they could not impress anyone, and since most of them never went to school, my 20 yrs at Notre Dame, Yale and Harvard did not provide a significant introduction.…. This experience forced me to rediscover my true identity. These broken, wounded, and completely unpretentious people forced me to let go of the self that can do things, show things, prove things, build things – and forced me to reclaim that unadorned self in which I’m completely vulnerable, open to receive and give love regardless of any accomplishments…. The great message we have to carry as followers of Jesus, is that God loves us not because of what we do or accomplish, but because God has created and redeemed us in love and has chosen us to proclaim that love as the true source of all human life.” (source unknown, quoted by Pete Scazzero)
Let us welcome the “broken, wounded, and completely unpretentious people” around us. More importantly, let us learn from them how to live as true beloved sons and daughters of God through Christ, whose best accomplishment was a foolish and shameful display of bloody sacrifice on a Roman Cross. If we learn to live this way we too shall be open invitations to others to come aside and find rest, just like him.