should have's and seasons.

I should have been at the funeral.


Yeah, you should have.


I didn’t even know. And I’m sorry.

There are conversations you have in your head that haunt you. The thing you didn’t say, the place you didn’t go-- you feel non-existent disappointment tangibly in your own mind.

2016 was a year full of funerals. And I don’t mean literal, although yes, a lot of celebrities died, but so did a lot of other people, as in any other given year and I refuse to believe that celebrity deaths hold any more importance than my neighbor losing their parent. Death is death. Funerals are funerals.

In the midst of a year of tragedies, it’s easy to for the “should have”’s the creep in and destroy joy. The “should have” is full of good intention-- I should have said this. I should have done more. I should have been kinder. I should have been bolder. But the “should have”’s hold no value-- we didn’t. Should having is not important.

What is important is what you WILL. What will we do this next year? What will we say? How will we be kind? How will we be love?

This year, beyond the stream of literal funerals, there were funerals in the form of cracks. Like splinters in a china vase, the church has cracks (it always has!), but this election, this year-- they’re exposed more than ever.

These words from Ann Voskamp in her book The Broken Way spoke to me--

“When the church isn’t for the broken and suffering, then the church isn't for Christ. Because Jesus, with his pierced side, is always on the side of the broken. Jesus always moves into places moved with grief. Jesus always seeks out where the suffering is, and that’s where Jesus stays.The wound in His side proves that Jesus is always on the side of the suffering, the wounded, the busted, and the broken”

This year broke a lot of people. But God shows up in brokenness. Healing comes only when something has first been smashed.  Nothing is new and bright through walls of materialism or false security-- we always have to break. We will always break to become something better. Nothing a should-have can change.

As I look back at this year, I see skinned knees and hands. I see broken lightbulbs of ideas I once held. And I cherish it all-- dear God, yes, please break my selfish heart and life so I can get it, can get YOU and not the manufactured version of you the world wants to sell me, not the rules you that people want to prop up and fight over.

The warrior you-- the one that BINDS UP THE BROKEN HEARTED-- but also knows that for the binding, there must first be the breaking. The one that fights the mediocrity in the lies of organized religion-- the one that is our only dose of HOPE in a broken world.

Broken-- again and again. Broken that light can creep in. Broken that change can be made. Broken that history can walk forward into something new.

This was our year-- broken-- a funeral march-- (and don’t forget that even at funerals there is sweetness and softness and laughter)-- broken to be better.

Here’s to 2017. Bring on the breaking.