Broken Open

Not every broken pot gets rebuilt as a recognizable terra cotta garden pot. Some of them get broken open. Broken open and rearranged. Broken open and painted. Broken open and filled with larger meaning. They begin as one thing and wind up as another. That’s pretty much the story of Nicole’s pot. Quickly broken into pieces, rearranged and glued into a random collection, Nicole was “finished” with her pot in a matter of minutes. Her quick explanation was that before her recovery her problems were insurmountable, like the solidness of the pot. But now by facing her brokenness she was able climb over the hurdles they represented. The fragments were all the people close to her that she’d hurt in her addiction.

Without missing a beat, she spun her pot around saying, “But it looks like an orchid!”

“Sounds like you need some paint then.”

And off she went to the art cabinet for paints, brushes, a water tub, and paper towels. Wondering about their importance, later in the morning I asked her to tell me about orchids. She believed they were the one flowering plant she could reliably nurture with just the right amount of water, the perfect amount of filtered light, and loving attentiveness. When those elements of tender care all came together, these fragile looking orchids would bloom once a year.

“Is that something you’re learning to do for yourself while you’re here in recovery?”

Her eyes grew wide. “Oh my gosh. I’ve never thought of myself as a delicate orchid before, but yesssss! And when those delicate, fragile parts of me got hurt, that’s when I lashed out hurting those closest to me.”

“Tell me about some of the fragments painted green.”

“Those are the people close to me that I’ve made amends with. The unpainted bits are those relationships where I still need to make amends.” As her plate says, through her brokenness the Lord is making her whole.

Both Lovana and Olivia made powerful images with the fragments of their broken pots. “God fights for me” is the victorious theme of divine light/yellow conquering the black/brokenness of Lovana’s reassembled pot. Olivia has arranged some of the larger fragments of her pot to represent the hand of the Lord being upon her. The black hash marks – the scars of her brokenness that are being restored.

 Tricia painted her perfectly reconstructed pot black and then added “the eye” of God – her realization that even in her brokenness God has always had his eye on her. Cleverly, the pupil of her God eye was the pot’s drain hole. She had sealed off the top opening with a paper plate painted black around the rim. She went from person to person inviting them to look through the God eye. To our delight, written on the paper plate base was “Look for God in the unexpected places.” Now that’s what I call brokenness opening up to new possibilities!

If your broken pot were reassembled into a flower, what kind would it  be? How might that flower speak into your life the way it did to Nicole? In what ways have you found God in unexpected places? What will you think about the next time you see an ordinary terra cotta garden pot? Will you be tempted to break it?

Sure have enjoyed your recent comments! The women love them!!!

PS – This is the second post about the “Broken Pot” art activity with the ladies at the Lighthouse, a fifteen-month, faith-based, residential treatment program for women recovering from substance abuse.

4 comments to Broken Open

  • Nicole’s words are inspirational. I love the idea of being able to move quickly in recovery (the quick assembly) but then taking time to add color. No need to waste time making a change. Great to take time to live into the change.

  • In the book ‘Paper Towns’, the author John Green wrote:
    “Each of us starts out a waterproof vessel. And these things happen – these people leave us, or don’t love us, or don’t get us, or we don’t get them, and we loose and fail and hurt one another. And the vessel starts to crack open in places…….
    Once the vessel cracks open, the end becomes inevitable……
    But there is all this time between when the cracks start to open up and when we finally fall apart. And it is only in that time that we can see one another, because we see out of ourselves through our cracks and into others through theirs.”

  • Dianne Moon

    Very inspirational post, Lynne. Thanks.

  • This was lovely and made me want to go and paint my broken pot project from April!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>