Your Broken Life

You have journeyed a long time and have reached the crossroads in life where you feel the pressure of having neither the time nor the ability to heal your broken life. Sometimes aging conjures the startling revelation that life did not go as you had hoped. That you did not live in the way you should have. That there is regret. And now, sinking into this liminal state, your body is tired and worn, your mind exhausted by the volatility of sustaining you, and your spirit never released from the confines of being you.

A broken life. Pieces and fragments of strenuous effort that never gathered themselves together. Everything exposed. Nothing is buried or hidden. Your life pulled here and there from one thing to the next to survive. Sometimes success and loss are the same things. Your creative spirit is exhausted by it all. Why didn’t you leave this? Why didn’t you trust in something greater than yourself? Too late now.

People look at you differently now that you are old. You see through the shimmering veneer of aging. Sixty is not the new forty. It’s nothing like forty. It’s harder, much harder. Time doesn’t move more quickly; you think it does. But it can pass you by if you’re not careful. You exist in a body that has endured sixty years of living. Stop pretending. There’s no youth to be found here. Everything about it feels different.

So here you sit. Writing things down. Trying to do something more than just exist. Immersing yourself in language. Trying to find a way. Inside a painful body. And exhausted mind. Watching your time run out. The contraction of life upon you. Taking you. Away.

From this place of physical deterioration and mental exhaustion, you gaze upon your broken life. You see pieces of too many puzzles that cannot be put together, except by fanciful narrative. And you know that pieces are missing too. You feel sadness. There is loss and grieving to be accommodated. These feelings will remain with you. Can you learn from them and live with them by your side? You are a puzzle that cannot be made. This is your beginning.

There is recovery, but it is not what you think. Your wounds are deep. They will not heal like a paper cut. Your wounds are not visible; they are felt. They move in you and around you while seducing your senses into despair. But your wounds do not seek to punish you. Perhaps despair is where you need to go before it is too late. Perhaps despair is a trusted advisor.

Here you sit betwixt and between, surveying the broken pieces of your past and the contraction of life ahead. There is far less time ahead of you than behind you now. The present moment, that bastion of the contemplative arts, is now a torrent of liminality. It’s all quite fragile. They forget to tell you that.

Can you heal your broken life? If by healing you mean striving to do some good in the world exactly where you are, then you might find some comfort. But if by healing you mean fixing and repairing your brokenness, then you will continue to suffer. You cannot heal the broken pieces of your life because they will not fit together. Some of the pieces you must confront are not of your own making. No magic will bring it all together again. Your life is broken and will stay that way—a harsh but genuine truth. There is only one question: Can you make yourself large enough to accommodate it?

Healing is about what can be done. If you feel despair about life, then you know life matters to you. That there is a sense of privilege in the magic of simply being here. If you didn’t care, there would be no despair. Place your attention on what can be done and ignore what cannot be changed. Honor your brokenness and give it home inside of you.

Remember, your task is not to try and put all the pieces together into a comfortable form. They won’t fit. It’s an expectation that wounds you. Your task is to accommodate your broken life, not repair it. Let all the pieces that haunt you remain where they are. They are yours to claim. They belong to you.

Sometimes healing is about doing nothing at all.