I am telling my age with this one, but that is fine. I am proud to now be a flavorfully seasoned, many roads traveled, broken but not defeated, passion-driven servant for God.
As a sophomore in High School, the song “Pick up the Pieces” by the Average White Band (AWB) was one of my all-time favorites. There are basically no lyrics except for the four words in the title that are shouted several times throughout the song. None-the-less, I was and remain totally intrigued by it. I have danced countless hours to that song, which was composed by the founding member of AWB, Roger Ball, a superb saxophonist (the instrument that I love and played as a student).
The song is still on my list of favorite instrumentals; however, the four words in the title (which before meant very little to me) developed a very definitive meaning through some major heartbreak in my life.
I was a daddy’s girl; the first daughter born after four sons. Later would come four more siblings and our dad took care of and loved each of us unconditionally.
I had faced major set-backs throughout my life, some beyond my control and others the result of poor choices that I made. I had almost hit rock bottom on several occasions, but nothing would shake my core or tear me apart like the death of my dad. I was able to heal and pick up the pieces from a broken marriage and the demise of other relationships (intimate, friends and family). I worked hard to bounce back from several instances of financial loss and being wronged by people “in authority” who were supposed to be looking out for my well being, not trying to destroy it. But the pain of losing my dad ripped my heart and soul into a million pieces and I could see no way of recovering. How could I? My dad…my rock…my best friend…my Laker and Redskin watching partner…my protector…the one person who without a doubt loved me and cherished me as much as I loved and cherished him.
After his death, I walked around in a fog…a true state of devastation, barely existing and not giving my all to anything. I was unfocused, reckless, and sometimes even heartless. I was in a severe state of grief and self-pity. And then one evening a crystallizing moment occurred. I overheard a conversation my son was having with his friend about the loss of his granddad and how he was determined to carry on his legacy… to make him proud. His conversation sparked something within me and made me realize that I was not living life the way my dad would want me to live it. I was not living by his example and being the strong, resilient person he had taught us all to be. He would not want me grieving to the point that I was not being the best me or taking care of myself so that I was physically and emotionally able to be there for my mom, my son and others who may need me. I was being selfish, not seeking comfort in knowing that my dad was no longer suffering….that he was truly in a better place. I was not acknowledging and being grateful for all the love and life lessons he had taught me, my siblings and our offspring. My dad was truly a family man.
It was the day that I began to pick up the shattered pieces of my life and start to live again. I looked to God for the strength to put myself back together and through this process I became stronger and began to realize that although I was broken, I was not defeated. I realized that with faith, acceptance and determination, I could redesign my life; this time with a firmer foundation built from life experiences.
Like me, something in your world may have caused you to crumble. And if not now, it will at some point. You can allow these moments to do one of two things…to propel you forward or to lead you to despair. Unfortunately, many choose the later. They never come to realize that there are true blessings in being broken; that joy can come again after long periods of despair, that loving and fulfilling relationships can be built after hurtful breakups, and that they can gain financial security after extreme periods of lack.
Life is going to break you down. Some things will come out of nowhere and hit you like a ton of bricks. Why? You may never know. But you must believe that no matter what you are going through or will go through, you can get through it. You must get through it. Have your moment of hurt and grief if you must, but don’t stay there. PICK UP THE PIECES OF YOUR LIFE, learn the lessons, and start moving again.
“God never intended for you to go through something and get nothing out of it.”…Bishop T.D. Jakes