Thursday, August 2, 2012

Meditation on My Broken Gourd Instrument

This morning, during my morning prayer, I felt an unexpected urge to spend time with my broken  gourd instrument. I didn't know why, really. It has sat on my shelf for a whole year, ever since I broke it moving here from my last ministry appointment.

A couple of times over the year, I have rummaged through my desk to find superglue, only to squeeze the tube and have nothing come out. Rather than fool with it further, I had tossed the glue back in my drawer and gone on with life. So there the gourd sat.

It's a beautiful, fully rounded brown gourd shaker that was a gift for use as hand percussion at the Academy and other worship experiences I lead. It's also in my study just for fun! It's from Cameroon. I can shake, thump, or rub it to make different sounds. People who look around in my study often reach for it, it's a natural hand magnet. I have missed shaking my gourd, but still it has sat there all year in two pieces, laying bare its brokenness.

But today, I was drawn to my broken gourd. I went to my desk and found the superglue again, and once again I routinely squeezed it and remembered I had been through this before. But this time, I did not give up so easily. I examined the glue, taking the top off. To my surprise, I found the reason glue had not been forthcoming is that I had not punctured the necessary opening in the first place. You know how it works, one has to take the top off and use the pointed end to get the whole thing started.

I thought, "really?" What does that say that it has taken me a year?

I mended my wonderful gourd and laid it on my small altar on the corner of my desk altar by the candle. And I meditated about my own journey of spiritual healing and the healing so many others desperately need in a world of distrust, competition, and unhealthy dynamics. How often do we lay in our brokenness when healing is so readily available? How often have I let something lie that needed mending, getting accustomed to seeing it in pieces rather than pursue the grace God has for me so closeby? How often have I just gotten so used to things being broken that I don't notice?

I think God has given each of us just what we need to find wholeness again. But we don't always approach the gift creatively. We rummage through the drawer looking for hope, some scripture or prayer or holy place, some relationship or conversation or means of grace ... but we throw it back when we find it doesn't work fast enough or without a little more effort. We get comfortable with leaving things broken and laying around, whether they are outer relationships or inner rhythms. And so we don't make the music we would love to make with life.

I'm glad I listened to the Spirit's nudge and glued my gourd today. And I'm glad it formed some great morning prayer time. I look forward to shaking things up now that I've got it together.