Have you ever been to a museum or traveled somewhere where once beautiful buildings were falling apart? Where little pieces of plaster or stucco or ancient stone were beginning to crumble? Perhaps in Greece at the Acropolis? The Mid-East where sadly so many historic structures are being destroyed? Or perhaps a deteriorating facia on your own home?
I remember clearly one day when I woke to hear a thud, to find that a section of our historic 1736 home’s dining room ceiling had crumbled onto the dining table where I was soon to feed my B&B guests! No easy fix! We had to find a historic renovator to come and re-do the ceiling. We eventually found one and in a couple weeks or so, thankfully, all was repaired.
If only when we shatter into tiny pieces we could be so easily mended!
There have been a few times when I felt like little pieces of me were crumbing, scaling off, impossible to put back together. Like my historic dining room ceiling, sometimes we need restoring. We can’t mourn the parts of us that are no more. We can’t be sad about fallen bits. We have to take what is left of value and build from there. But when the pieces first start falling it can feel like we are losing our identity.
When everything seems turbulent in your life, it is a good time to remember who you innately are: God’s child. One definition of God is Spirit. Keeping in mind that we are Spirit’s creation, we know we must have a spiritual nature. We are more than the matter we see in the mirror, more than the aches and pains of mortal existence, more than the troubles we face, more than the bits and pieces we feel we’ve lost by age, accident, injustice, or neglect. “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing” (John 6:63). Understanding our spiritual nature enables us to see our wholeness, to see that we cannot lose even the tiniest bit of who we really are. We can’t fall apart because our divine nature is a God-given inheritance. As John writes, “we dwell in him [God], and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit” (1 John 4:13).
This is not readily seen if we focus on broken bits, the tumbling down lost parts of self that depress or frighten us. No. Instead, we are called to lift up ourselves by acknowledging that our true being is spiritual, intact, in God’s eternal care. Romans 8 tells us “to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace…ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you . . . The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” (Romans 8: 9; 16).
What is the Spirit of God that dwells in us? Isn’t it all the good given to us from a good God? All the life, love, truth, joy, intelligence, honesty, justice, and kindness we radiate and receive? Our good qualities cannot be lost because they come from God. They are ours to demonstrate every day because they are our very identity as children of God. So when we feel we’ve lost some good, some bit of truthfulness or love, we can restore ourselves by holding to who we spiritually are as God’s child. We can repair the broken bits of self, all by ourselves, by choosing to express more fully God’s indestructible goodness that is ours by divine inheritance.
About the artwork: Sad to say I no longer recall the name of this painting that I painted on location in Europe many years ago. It was of historic buildings either in France or Switzerland. I don’t remember who I sold it to (bookkeeping is not easy for an artist who would rather be painting than dealing with numbers and record keeping!). I loved painting in France, Italy, England, Greece, Portugal, and Switzerland–the textures and quirky shapes of old buildings were wonderful. I’ve been to France four times to paint–I especially love the Provence area.