They say that a cracked mug mended, is stronger along the glue line than it was before it broke. Like the wound has somehow made it better.
We have a number of cracked mugs in the utility room which have yet to prove this theory.
I buy strong glue. Usually it comes in two tubes. The first time I read the instructions and the glue works but then I put the tubes in the drawer and instantly the instructions disappear.
Then next time I forget whether the glue from the two tubes has to be mixed with five minutes elapsing before sticking the surfaces together, or whether it’s no minutes, or ten, or fifteen.
Or whether it’s glue on one surface or both. The last thing I ‘mended’ (a blue candlestick) was still oozing 5 days later so I threw it away.
But I like the idea that a wound can be a source of healing, even if I don’t really want to be wounded. At all. Naturally.
But life gives us wounds, and at the menopausal stage I can truthfully reveal that it is possible to end up carrying (albeit hopefully temporarily) more than one. Insomnia, anxiety and fatigue, to name three, in fact.
Old Testament patriarch Jacob was wounded after his epic night time wrestling match with an angel. Well, it appeared to be an angel, but angels in the bible often represent God, which he maybe began to realise, as towards dawn Jacob asks the ‘man’ he’s ‘wrestling’ for a blessing. And only God does blessing.
In response, the ‘angel’/’man’/god person touches his hip socket and puts it out of joint. Some blessing, Lord! Cheers for that. Now I can’t walk without limping and all I wanted was something spiritual to treasure, something holy to hold onto.
But this wound may make him think twice about how he’s hitherto journeyed through life (deceitfully, mainly). Along with his new wound, Jacob also has a new name, a new outlook, a new humility, a new relationship (with one time estranged brother, Esau) and a new future.
So when you think about his wound in the context of the bigger picture, it does begin to seem as though God knows what a blessing looks like.
I am ‘wounded’ by experiences of not recovering after a period of illness. Not recovering full energy, not wholly recovering the ability to sleep, not recovering quite the same personal confidence that had hitherto propelled me in life. Okay, maybe it’s coming, slowly, but still…wounding is difficult.
Call it a mid life crisis, empty nest syndrome, intimations of mortality, whatever. It’s that in between phase when once you could say “I’m only just out of my forties” but soon it’s going to be more honest to say “I’m in my mid fifties”…
….that stage when your cupboard is full of herbal teas, you start planning your bath at 8.45pm and your grown children send you messages asking how your week has been.
We don’t like weakness, even in the church. In Lent, though, we think about a saviour who sat in the wilderness feeling very empty and fighting the temptation to impress through unbridled authority and power, even though he could have wielded just those things, and people would’ve loved it.
Better to be a full human being, subject to the full range of weaknesses, or a limping Jacob whose very wound now reminds him of his utter reliability on God.
That way your wound is your blessing.