Sunday, October 12, 2014

I am Broken Too

From our guest-poster Trish:

"I'm sweeping my kitchen floor and my back is starting to ache a tad more than usual. I look at my broom and realize it could be my own reflection, staring up at me. 

I'm quite short for an adult, just 5 feet, and my old broom is even shorter; in fact, it's much shorter than the average broom. Have we both shrunk? Why yes, we have. It's easy to see that we've both become a little 'abbreviated' over the years. 

Been through a lot together and I'm very fond of this particular old broom-friend. It always does what I ask of it, in spite of all its obvious flaws and weaknesses, but it wasn't always so short nor so flawed. Once upon a time it was a proud and upright object that both my husband and I put to good use every day - until that one fateful afternoon! Hubby was merrily and quite vigorously sweeping along the dusty floor when we heard it.  A distinct and sickening 'snap,' and with it my proud broom was suddenly humbled in half.

'Well, that's the end of that! We'll have to get another one now,' I heard my husband say.

'"No.. it's okay.. I can still use it.'  I wasn't going to let a mere thing like that take my beloved old broom away from me! 

Hubby arrived home the next day, with a new broom.  

I continue to use my old one.

It means I have to bend down a bit more now; but still, there is no other broom I love more than this one and no other that cleans up half as well as it does.  Hubby finds it a bit embarrassing for anyone to know I use a broken broom. He thinks it should be tossed out - after all, it's broken - so why keep it when we have a new one to replace it with? 

Well, for one thing, it's a good hard straw broom and the new one is soft nylon. I like straw. And I like broken things. 

I'm sweeping my kitchen floor and my back is starting to ache a tad more than usual. ('O God, come to my aid; O Lord make haste to help me!')  

Help me to sweep without grumbling today. Help me to be grateful for dust and kitchen crumbs, and a few extra twinges. ('Lord, I offer these pains up for H, our dear friend who is battling cancer and who loves You so much!')  

Help me choose to do this monotonous housework with a light heart, even though I'd rather be reading a book or gardening! Help me to be careful not to put too much stress on my old broom today... and to remember this.. .I am broken too. So broken, You have to reach right down from Heaven itself to make any use of me. 

Help me remember how You love me, in spite of my obvious sins and failings; that You never give up on me or turn me away. You never want to replace me with anyone else.. with a new or better version. You just want... me. 

'Let him regard all the vessels of the monastery and all its substance, as if they were sacred vessels of the altar.'  Would St Benedict tell his cellarer to toss out a broken broom, just because it made the monk bend lower? I wonder...  
I am the cellarer in my monastery. 

I keep all the broken brooms.  

Oh yes, it's true... I live in a monastery. I am a 'monk'. My inner monastery is the Abbey of my heart.  The Holy Trinity is my community there, and the Will of God is my Rule. Wherever I am, my inner Abbey is with me. Whatever I do, I do within its grounds. I am never 'away' from it, no matter how far I travel or how long it takes to get home. 

And the community of my inner Abbey, the three Persons of the Trinity, always go with me... and I with Them. We come together each day for prayer... for the work we do together... and for sitting together in silence.  We are heart-monastics, companions, confidantes, family within Family. 

When I am weak, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are there to uphold me. 
When I am suffering, They are there to console me.  
When I am rejoicing, They celebrate with me.  
When I am wrong, They guide me back to the right path. 
When I am sick with sin, They heal me. 
When I am in my most unlovable state.... The Father, Son and Holy Spirit love me still! 

Oh, who would want to live without such a Community as this!?  

How I became a heart-monastic is a mystery, even to me. It was nothing I did, nothing I planned, nothing I foresaw happening. I just know that one day something 'snapped' within me and I fell so low that only God could reach down and lift me up. And where He touched me now burns. Flames on His altar, consuming all that would sever the embrace of our souls. 

I am broken... and sweet is the breaking within me. I am hidden... and how lovely is my enclosure. I am silent...and how loud my heart beats for Him. I am alone... and always with Him. I am fiat given. I am not worthy.  

HE... is all that is!"

This post was written by Trish, who blogs at 'Monastic Housewife.'  

Paintings by:    (top) William Paxton (cropped)
                      (middle) Vilhelm-Hammershoi
                      (broom alone) Pierre August Renoir (detail)
                      (bottom) Norwid


This post is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Linkup


  1. Trish...I LOVE this post! What a beautiful reflection. Such inspiration from both of you living the monastic life *in the world*. Thanks for sharing this today.

    1. Thank you, Theresa..for your kind words and the inspiration I always find in your posts too, my friend! xx

  2. This is so beautiful! I am deeply touched by this post. Thank you so much for your meaningful words.

    1. Thank you so much, Anne! God be praised..He is the One who touches hearts. xx

  3. Trish, how exquisitely beautiful! I especially love the last paragraph. I will return to read and ponder this post again. Thank you for sharing here on Nancy's wonderful blog! xoxo

    1. Thank you, dear friend! I'm so honoured to be sharing here...and glad you enjoyed it. xx

  4. Wow, Trish! Amazing post, my friend :)
    (Love the name "Monastic Housewife" too!)

    1. From one" monastic housewife" to another..thank you, dear friend! :-)

  5. I will add (again) my own thanks to the bunch, Trish. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us!

    And thanks for commenting, Theresa and Anne and Patricia and Mary!

    1. Nancy, I'm so grateful to be given the honour of sharing a few words on your wonderful blog! You are the best heart-monastic mentor one could wish for. I so appreciate your beautiful Cloistered Heart teaching, and all the encouragement you give to help us live the monastic way in our daily life ..whoever we are and wherever we may be. You are a gift from God! Bless you, dear friend. xx

    2. Trish, thank you for such kind words. It is a un-wordable blessing to know of others who want to live for Him wherever we are, whatever our state in life!