For When It Gets Lonely


My grandma wrote in marker on my bathroom mirror: “Shalom – nothing missing, nothing broken”. We are single-lady comrades, my grandma and I, even though we’re in different age-related circumstances. So I feel like I know what she meant to me by that phrase.

Even alone, there can be Shalom.

That’s hard, as I look in the mirror in the morning, those words trailing down one side of my reflection. I woke up in a bed that sometimes feels too big, to an apartment quiet and dark with the influence of but one person. And I look at what Gramma wrote: “nothing missing”. My first task of this new day is to believe that.

I’m privileged, I realize, to be able to pray to God for desires, since all my needs are met. (A reminder for when I think Sovereignty has abandoned me.) “Nothing missing”, I pray as I prepare for my job, dress in good clothes, paint my face from a gamut of make-up, eat a breakfast that I’ve never had to skip. Shalom.

But what about broken?

Me, as a person – I’m broken. Daily, by loneliness and questions and the thought that my place in Christ’s church is insignificant and unnoticeable. Waiting years without feeling like my life has moved forward, wondering how much of faith is “ask” and how much is “action” – I struggle with this limbo and pray, frustrated, over my morning of plenty:

“But God, I can’t say ‘nothing broken’. Even my days are a broken record, the same one after the other after the other after the other. I feel like I’m always either picking up the chipped-off parts of me I can’t fix, or trying desperately to ignore the cracks running through my heart.”

Some years ago God gave me this image: “I hold you together like a cracked figure of porcelain: gently but firmly.” And maybe that’s what it means to be able to say “nothing broken”. On our own, we are fissured, lacking, chipped. But God takes us in hand, puzzles out our mixed-up jigsaw pieces, and sees our wholeness. When I can’t see the complete product, He. Always. Does.

So I head out the door, leaving behind another lonely morning out of 365 a year, and my prayer is to see the wholeness that God sees. And maybe it’s time I start thanking Him for giving me a grandma who heeds the Holy Spirit when her granddaughter needs a daily reminder of God’s omnipresence.

That, after all, is Shalom.

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