There is something to be valued in every individual.
I am an island girl born in Cuba. I came to the USA when I was 4. My mother was born on beautiful Varadero Beach in Cuba, one of the top beaches in the world. She would tell me stories of how she would walk on the shore and pick up shells when she was only 8 years old; a long time ago when the world was a safer place.
I feel as though I have salt water running through my veins. For me, to be near the ocean is to be home. I frequently go on what I call “picnics with God” by the seaside. I walk and talk to Him as I pick up shells, just like my mother did. I am often drawn to shells that are broken. As I pick them up, I see the pieces and visualize what they looked like when they were whole. One piece might look like it belonged to a pink conch shell. Another piece might look like it belonged to a sunrise shell.
I believe Jesus sees us this way. He sees us as beautiful and whole even in our brokenness. It can be difficult to look past other people’s differences and jagged edges, and I wonder how He does it so graciously. As I studied the Bible, I discovered that Jesus modeled how to do this for us many times. Here are a few ways we can learn from Him to find beauty in brokenness.
Give people space to think and feel.Jesus connected with people’s thoughts and feelings. He understood that new ideas need to be connected with existing frames of reference and often used parables, poetic stories, to introduce a new concept. Then he would give people space to consider His words. Jesus seldom pressed for closure or a decision. Instead he understood that time is required for ideas to simmer and for people to own them and act on their own.
Initiate conversations.Beauty is revealed through relationship. When we take the time to initiate conversation, ask meaningful questions, and actively listen, it usually isn’t too hard to see the “imago dei” (image of God) in someone. Jesus often initiated conversations with people, strangers even. In the story of the Samaritan Woman for example, Jesus does the unconventional and starts a conversation with an outcast woman.
Create time for “interruptions.”Many of Jesus’ conversations took place in homes. He made time to build relationships. Zacchaeus was a tax collector, a most reviled profession at the time, yet Jesus took the time to break bread with him. How often do you take opportunities to deeply connect with people, especially people you’ve just met? Between kids, work, and church, it can be easy to stick to one routine and stay in our bubbles. But venture outside of your norm and you may be surprised the beauty you find.
Most of all, we must see everyone, including ourselves, the way Jesus sees them — broken, yet beautiful. There is something to be learned from and valued in every individual, if only we are willing to take the time to look.
Lourdes Zarro is the Secondary ESE Coordinator at CCA, and CEO of Sonfish Outdoor Adventure Program. As a certified Autism Specialist, Lourdes has helped thousands of families meet the special needs of their children. As a parent, she has experienced the joy and pain of having a child with a learning disability. It is her professional goal to provide families with opportunities that stretch their child’s abilities and fulfill their emotional and social needs.