Grazing the Broken Places

March 20, 2014

beauty in the broken

I wrote a book called Sufficient Grace.

It took me close to a decade to get it all out. And, it never really seems finished.

I wanted to be a writer ever since I could wonder what I might want to be when I grew up. Words have always been a place of solace for me. If I can put a name to something, it just makes it less formidable, more manageable. Oozing the words brings me peace I can’t explain. It’s always been an essential part of dissecting and processing life for me.

This is not the story I envisioned years ago, mesmerized by the clickety clack of my typewriter.

When I wrote the very first draft of the book in 2005, it was 67 pages long. My mother was still alive. My husband didn’t yet attend church with us. My second mother and incredible mentor, Dinah, was also still living. I was just telling the story back then of three little babies with brief lives, whose existence taught us about sufficient grace and nitty gritty faith.

My husband left his tree stand for the church pew. My mother died. And, my Dinah left this earth several years after her.

My book is now 308 pages (well at least it was when I sent it to the publisher).

Because in 2005, the story wasn’t finished.

As I was re-reading it, there were several times when I grazed the broken places, the ones somehow still raw and gaping, even all these years later, once the thin layer is peeled away to expose what lies beneath. The cleansing weeping ensued, quite mercilessly. I don’t allow the grazing to linger much, or to delve deeply, for fear of what might bubble up. Once you’ve been tossed about by grief’s sea, you grow hesitant to place yourself at it’s mercy again.

But, sometimes. Sometimes the grief moan finds it’s way to the surface and you hit your knees with the wailing and weeping. When the grazing happens, and the broken pieces bubble up all sharp and jagged.

The grazing happened again today.

At the doctor. A place I avoid like a close relative of the plague of the broken places.

I had to go because of health issues that needed to be addressed.

For some reason, it seems safer to type those words here, when I haven’t been brave enough to say them anywhere else. Strange.

I answered the questions and marveled at the ability of the grazing to shimmy its way into every crevice of life.

“Any surgeries?”

“Well…just a D&C after my daughters were stillborn in 1996. And, a tubal ligation in 2001 after the birth of our youngest son.”

Just that.

I said it in one breath, trying not to pause long enough to acknowledge that the broken places had been grazed.

Insult to injury. As if being at the doctor wasn’t painful enough. The realization that most of my broken was born from childbirth.

Not just the broken pieces in my heart. But, in my body.

I don’t have all the words tonight to dissect and analyze the depth of these revelations. That no matter how many years pass this side of heaven, the broken places will always sting with ferocity when exposed. But, I can say, that even in the broken, every life that was born of my womb…was worth it. All of it.

The breaking, the loving, the aching missing, the broken places ripped open again and again, and the beauty born because they lived.

  • Kelly Gerken

    Kelly Gerken is the president and founder of Sufficient Grace Ministries, an organization providing perinatal hospice services, bereavement support and Dreams of You memory-making materials to families facing the loss of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, infant death and the death of a young child. Kelly has walked through the loss of three of her five children, and now reaches out to walk with other grieving families as an SGM perinatal loss support doula and SGM Remembrance Photographer. She is a creator and facilitator of training for birth professionals on compassionate care for bereaved parents facing perinatal loss. Her memoir, Sufficient Grace, was published in 2014. You can read more about Kelly's journey of grace, hope and healing and the outreaches of SGM, order resources or find her book here:

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