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Even Broken Can Be Beautiful

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler
2017 31 Aug

An older man and an older woman sit in swings, holding hands.

It was recently my parents’ anniversary. I can’t remember the last time they celebrated, not just because they have both passed away, but because they were divorced many years before that. There were too many problems. Neither one of them knew how to conduct a “good” argument, for one thing. And both were strong willed. Pronouncing those two husband and wife was like putting Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali in the ring and expecting a love fest. There was also the matter of my father’s alcoholism. There was just too much brokenness and hurt for one marriage to survive.

And yet I feel like celebrating. Because of the great things God did—not to put the marriage back together, but to help two old people love each other to the end. Because that’s how it was. My father finally reaching bottom and realizing he wasn’t alone. God was there. The family gathering once again on holidays, my parents at both ends of the table. My brothers joking and laughing, embracing a father they had shunned for a time. And I losing all fear of him and feeling only affection. And then there was my mother, sitting every day at my father’s bedside, fiercely protective as he struggled to pass from this life to the next.

My family was as fractured as many, but I give thanks for the way God pieced it back together, making it beautiful in its brokenness. It’s a picture that will stay with me always, not just because it captures how God dealt with us, but because in a way, it’s a picture of every life that belongs to God this side of heaven—beautiful in its brokenness because of the way his glory shines through.