25 Aug

A friend recently commented that you should always keep something broken in your home. She pointed to the fact that we are all “broken” and should not dismiss or discard anything based on this condition. I was intrigued by this concept and agreed, but not fully. 

The word broken, doesn’t feel comfortable. I don’t see people as broken, though I acknowledge that none of us is perfect. It is in these imperfections that we are unique, individual, and identifiable. I really want to see things in that light. Everything we are, our deficiencies, our talents help to mold us and make us special. If we only focus on the parts we see as broken, it is easy to disregard the rest, our being as a whole, the shining parts, our individuality. And of beauty in general.  

Merriam Webster dictionary holds several definitions for beauty but the one I relate to refers to the word beautiful. Beautiful applies to whatever excites the keenest of pleasure to the senses and stirs emotion through such a personal choice about what is beautiful. And the adage, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. 

After I had this encounter with my friend, my husband and I set out to clean our garage. During the cleaning, I found a box of colorful glass stars I had purchased many years before, at an arts and crafts shop in Woodbury CT. But since that time, we have moved twice, and they moved with us. I always desired to use them to decorate but never had.  I loved them but they were complicated to hang so I just moved them from place to place in my home and then from home to home.I was so excited to find them. I loved these stars but never generated the energy to create a place for them.  

I took the box into the house for the discovery. Each star was wrapped individually in bubble wrap. There were 9, Gold, green and blue.  8 were intact, 1 had a ray broken off which was missing.

 I felt like I was seeing them for the first time! And excited that most were in "good" shape. I focused on finding a way to use them in this home. There was a long piece of thin wire that was wrapped around a single star, from one of my unfulfilled attempts to display these colorful gems in the past. Using the wire, I figured a way to hang the stars, on a wall in our porch. 

My husband  brought out 8 nails because he assumed the broken star would not be hung.  I considered using the “broken” star, the one missing its ray, but after a time of reflection, put it into a pile of things going to the trash. 

The stars were hung. I was happy to be  putting some color onto the stark white wainscoating. The look of the new wall was certainly appealing, but it didn’t feel complete.  I went and retrieved the discarded star from the bin. I looked at it carefully. 

It was golden colored and shone just like the rest. It was beautiful. I knew we had to use it. We added another nail to the wall, affixed the wire to the missing ray star and hung it with the rest. Wow, the change was remarkable. This is what was lacking in our new display!

Keeping what might be considered “broken” in the mix of these sparkling stars, worked. Check out the wall in the picture below. Can you find the special star?

I want to welcome asymmetry, "imperfection" and see beauty in everything. I recall when my kids were growing up that we had dolls with missing body parts and a toy horse whose foot had broken off. We kept them all. Why not? What is perfection anyway? Who decides beauty and acceptance? All the toys were well loved no matter their condition. 

And as living things we frequently "lack" something in our bodies, experiences and emotions. Many people face the outward challenge of missing a body part or the inward one of growing up missing a parent or a tangible home in which to live.  Imperfection lies somewhere in all of us. Part of our own life's journey is to find comfort, acceptance and understanding in the fact that we are all products of some loss. It is how we face the situation that rounds out our unique being.

So, I am glad to have chosen to use the individual, “imperfect” star to decorate our wall. It may be seen as broken, but I feel it evens out our display and will be a topic to discuss. The design is now fuller and has greater depth with the presence of all the stars. I want to embrace my own differences and honor the differences in others. I know it is a journey. So Just For Today, I am grateful to my friend for opening up my eyes to all beauty and for my 20-year-old stars.  

How have you faced your own feelings of being incomplete? I would love to hear your thoughts. 

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