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All Cracked Up
By Patsy Clairmont
W Publishing GroupCopyright © 2007 Patsy Clairmont
All right reserved.
Chapter OneAll Cracked Up
OK, not funny! I don't know who spun the dial on my internal compass, but I'm not laughing. I just came from the mall, where I misplaced my car in the parking lot; and then, after finding it, I immediately got lost, detouring through three strip malls before careening (not purposely) onto the correct road headed for home. No, there are no strip malls on the way to my house. And no, the mall is not in another town. And yes, I had been there many times.
I've spent my whole life looking for where I belong. Well, not my whole life, since I spent my younger years following whomever was headed somewhere-anywhere-until I started to have more of a sense of self.
As I became a tad more certain of who I was, I became a little less certain of others' choices. This process is called "growing a brain," and from the best I can tell, it takes at least half a century, perhaps a little longer. It seems our brains have networks of hairline fractures through which brain cells trickle out and fog and pollution seep in.
So my advice is for us to Spackle. "Spackle" sounds a lot like "sparkle" minus the glitz. It's a gluelike substance meant to fill in fractures-voila! Brain gunk. We put gunk on our hair, so why not our brains?
Actually, all gunk aside, what I've learned thus far in life (besides never travel alone) is that my internal compass isn't the only thing broken. We also have obvious fissures of the heart, like fractured relationships, weakening moral fiber, and religious disillusionment. I wonder if Spackle comes in vats?
Actually, that's where our Redeemer comes in. We need someone who can fix broken hearts, Spackle our perspective, and even give us a reason to laugh. God sent Jesus as a Redeemer to do just that-to redeem the shards of our lives and create a stained-glass perspective. When we realize we're broken and acknowledge Jesus as our Redeemer, then the crushing blows of life do not destroy us; instead, we see through our repaired viewing place "the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living" (Psalm 27:13). Then we live with hope, we dance more often, we laugh more deeply, and we are not taken by surprise by the fact that life is all cracked up.
I don't have easy answers for the hardships of life, but I'd tell you if I did. Of course, I realize an old lady who wanders around a parking lot calling out to her PT Cruiser, "Oh, Babycakes!" is brain-cell suspect or at least a prime candidate for "the home."
In the pages ahead, we will look at some of our heart fractures and see reasons to crack up laughing. The topics are varied, but each chapter is tied to the next by one strand: cracks. I've included questions to tuck in your heart or to share in a group. The chapters will be short, because I can't think in a straight line very long before wandering off to the mall.
I've divided this project into three parts: things ("Cracked Pots"), people ("Wisecrackers"), and changes ("Going Crackers"). I created these parts because I need logical order to stay on track and not trot where rabbits scurry. Also, I've found these three areas fray my last nerve, stretch my reserves, and vie for my focus, strength, and attention.
First, I've included things, because things regularly crack in our lives. Just think about how much time you spend repairing all the stuff you've gathered around you. In the chapters ahead, we will investigate how damaged goods become prized possessions, how fractures become highlights, and how cracks can actually add value. As we will see in the pages ahead, "broken" doesn't have to mean "unusable." In fact, our brokenness can be the vibrancy that makes us even more valuable. I love that.
Second, I've included people because-well, I am one, and also because they play a featured part in our lives. People build us, bamboozle us, baffle us, and bless us. Sometimes we can't live with them, and we certainly weren't designed to live without them.
Finally, I've included change, because it is the door to discovery. We weren't meant to be static but dynamic, and dynamics are charged by change. Yet change is not always an easy door to walk through, whether it's a crack in the door or the door's wide open. So let's walk through that door together.
As you turn the pages through these stories about things, people, and change, I'd love it if you laugh yourself silly and then go live yourself sane. I've found that even a lively chuckle helps make room for a fresh run at life. So if you're in a good place, come giggle till you jiggle. If you're feeling debilitated, come be tenderly heartened. And if you're somewhere in between, then be prepared-we'll be laughing one minute and sighing the next.
It's a mystery how life can be both fun and fractured. But there it is-all cracked up.
Excerpted from All Cracked Up by Patsy Clairmont Copyright © 2007 by Patsy Clairmont. Excerpted by permission.
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