I sit at the kitchen table with the window open this morning—let the cool spring breeze and the chatter of the finches ease me into the holy. I have a sermon to write, but the scriptures aren’t speaking. Or maybe I’m not listening.
My boys are off for a service project with their youth group, so I’m home alone but I can’t seem to focus my prayers. I think it’s that special we watched on the History Channel last night—the one on the Hatfields and McCoys. I’ve had trouble shaking the images, all that bloodshed we only read about in West Virginia history class in the 8th grade. Now Devil Anse has the face of Kevin Costner and as the credits rolled last night I wept real tears for real lives lost.
The bad stuff of the world seems too big today and I have to count on the Spirit to intercede with those sighs and groans again. I’m watching the Goldfinches and sipping from my favorite mug—the one Ann gave me—when the handle makes a clean break and the mug falls with a loud clank on the table. My finger is bleeding and there is coffee everywhere and oh, no, not this mug! I feel so sad that the gift is broken and I wonder what kind of silent fissure could have made so clean a break.

So much of the broken is cloaked in silence.
I clean up the mess, wash away blood and think about my friend Linda—what she’s doing to give a voice to some of that brokenness. I pray for it with my heart but I still have no words.
It’s Eugene Peterson who helps. Praying the Psalms—learning their language—is not an option, he says. It’s a mandate.
We need fluency in the language of the country we live in, he says.
Quietly I go to the bookshelf and find my old copy of Psalms for Praying. Lament fills the quiet, names the broken, gives words where there are none.
And through the open window the birds keep chatting. The world keeps spinning. But maybe not as quietly as before.
With my sandy, the


  1. says

    Laura – thank you.
    I know this feeling too – am right there with you this morning. Everything seems a little off kilter, and I am empty.
    I couldn’t get past the first episode – just too much everything and too real.
    Your words always minister to me. I can hear your gentle voice and see your clear,beautiful eyes and know they come from a heart that is filled with such grace and love.
    Praying His word will fill you with all that He desires for you.
    I’m going to read a few words myself.

  2. says

    Beautiful… it is hard when something special is broken, like cups or friendships.
    It is the silent eroding that we are not aware of then ‘crash’ it happens.
    I love your writings…they always challenge me to think deeper.

  3. Anonymous says

    Seeing as you are in pursuit of a good word, these might inspire …

    Leaves say
    strong prayers
    even when
    or soaking

    — Sam Roderick Roxas-Chua


    It’s vital to remember who you really are.
    It’s very important.
    It isn’t a good idea to rely on other people or things
    to do it for you, you see.
    They always get it wrong.

    — Terry Pratchett

    (Christ on the other hand, is the only person to rely on. He always gets it right.)


    Every day our life arranges itself into a poem.

    – me

    There’s a theme here if you’ll sit with these for a bit.

    Now to the matter of the beautiful cup. Perhaps it was always meant to be as it is now … broken for use.


  4. says

    Lovely and thoughtful and so true. There are days, seasons like this – when everything feels broken, most especially our spirits. Listening to the birds helps, though. Sitting in the quiet. And the words. The words of the psalmist – slowly, just a few at a time.

  5. says

    This is so touching. Brokenness is often silent and we are blind to it. It can come as a surprise when everything falls apart, but it always points us to the One who binds.

  6. says

    Our hearts are so filled with so much in our present days … we know so much about historic evil events, “see” it so strongly through TV produces. We also, through everyday news, see so much all over the world that is in extreme danger.

    It truly is hard to keep our hearts clean and pure and God-focused. We are willing to face pain for the sake of leading others to the Lord and teaching them how to walk out of their dangerous life [been there as a kid; done that in my adulthood].

    Very thoughtful. Wish I’d heard your birds. Always love that.

  7. says

    real tears over real lives lost
    followed by
    psalms prayed
    is a recipe
    for something wonderful to rise

    watchfully waiting with you,

  8. says

    The Lord bless your tender heart, Laura! (I know he has, and does, and will!) Thank you for being willing to weep at the woes of the world and momentarily despair over the broken lives that can only be put back together by Our Blessed Savior. How blessed we are to know that Savior, the putter-back-together. To think that he delights in us! That the Very God of the universe scoops us up in his arms and bestows on us his unconditional love. That he values us all the more because we’re broken enough to admit that we can’t save ourselves, but must just look to him.

  9. says

    Beautiful Laura. I hope some of your workload can somehow be lightened this summer. I will pray that for you. I just sense too much for one person. Praying right now.

  10. says

    Omygoodness, Laura, I just wrote (most of) a post about dropping and shattering a sentimental possession like that! Couldn’t decide whether to finish and publish it or another, and opted for the other. Now I need to go ahead and finish and post it! — AFTER I go pray some Psalms! Such good remedy for so many hurts and ills! Such good way to get connected with the Source, and thank Him. I’m thanking Him for you and your writing this morning.

  11. says

    I see the world through different lenses now; I feel pain more deeply and more profoundly. When little things break, so does my heart. Such needless breaking too many times to count. How grateful I am for the love of Jesus that keeps me close and that bends my heart toward thankfulness.

    You know what scene I loved the most in that movie (there were many that moved me)? The scene with Anse and Jonesie at the river. That was a powerful moment of brokenness, wrapped in a moment of grace.


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