Why We Break the Glass

IMG_20150131_082143Because we are broken.

Because the shards are beautiful and reflect the light. Because the world is broken and there are still places where we feel cut up inside and yes, love is the ocean that erodes the sharp edges over time.

Because once it is broken it cannot be put back together in its original form. It will never again be a glass from which we drink.

Because it can become something else. A mezuzah we’ll affix to the doorposts of our house. A menagerie of morning light, bright sunshine though the wind chill is well below zero.

Because the work may not be ours to complete, nor are we free to desist from it.

Because all things are whole unto themselves, and we must remember to handle what we love with a gentle touch, lest we go around stomping on everything.

Because life is a series of breakage and reassembly. Because we are resilient and can go on together even when something beautiful breaks.

Because it is just a moment, and if we can stand there, if we can make a vow to stay, we are remembering that each word is a chapter and each chapter a verse and each verse a return to the wholeness of what is. Because sometimes the breakage is irreparable and we must get out a broom and take the time to clean up the mess. Because the mess won’t kill us.

Because it is the best-case scenario and the worst-case scenario, and it doesn’t take long at all.

Because the fragments are contained in an unbroken vessel. Because the vessel shattered and gave us each a spark. Because there will be times when we are afraid. Because we will have to let go, again and again.

Because we have agency and choice, and because surrendering is its own strength. Because if we can love the fragments, we might make something beautiful, a mosaic of brokenness.

Because we are not broken. Because we already were, and we never were, and we are here now, on a Saturday morning, and in an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year, a decade, our lives will not resemble this life. Because a century or an eon from now the stories of us will be dispersed into the universe, after our bodies have become too pressurized to contain so much love and must break in order to keep expanding.

Because the breaking is holy. Because the holy is whole. Because I love you. Because we deserve this; we are worthy. Because without humility love is a lie, and we will not lie. Because there are so many explanations for what is ultimately all mystery. Because the broken glass catches the light, and the light catches us in the moment of waking up.

Because waking up is a mission that will pursue us until we pursue it. Because there is nothing left to pursue.

Because we can heal the story by rewriting it. Because there is a gift called imagination. Because there is a gift called perseverance. Because appearances can deceive and we must hold the sharp glass in our hands and say yes, this hurts if I close my hands tightly. Because we open our hands. Because we open our hearts.

Because it’s not too late. Because it’s early, and the day is just beginning, and what’s happening right in this moment is not stressful at all, but our thoughts can be so many broken pieces. Because wholeness is birthright. Because birth and death are bookends.

Because we carry within us the body memory of beauty and loss, ages old.

Because we must never forget.

4 thoughts on “Why We Break the Glass

  1. Katrina Kenison says:

    Love this Jena. Especially: “We can heal the story by rewriting it.” (And that we both wrote about shattered glass this week. And more.)


    • Jena Schwartz says:

      Katrina, I love that, too–the synchronicity of it. (And I loved your broken glass story, so much.) The idea of “healing the story” comes from my rabbi, who used that phrase last week while talking with Aviva about her bat mitzvah, and how to approach the text. Sending you so much love.



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