Broken House
The song says, "I've never made promises lightly; there are some that I have broken." I'm taken by that line. I'm taken by the entire song, so you'd think I'd be more careful about the promises I make. But no. Where it gets problematic is with the promises I cannot possibly keep. "How can I possibly do this?" I wonder even as I'm saying the words of commitment. I will never leave you. I will hold your hand when you die. Simpler promises, too, such as I will exercise at least a half hour a day. Maybe you are saying, "Now, Christin, there is certainly another way to look at this..." And you might be right. But, no matter the way I look at this, there are some promises I have broken. You've GOT to stop this promising all over the place, I said to myself some years ago. But I'm incorrigible.

Then, the other day as I was working on my new book project--a sort of memoir/spiritual apologia vita sua--it came to me that some of my biggest broken promises, namely the vows I made in the convent, are being fulfilled despite the way I dropped them and they shattered all over the cloister floor. Here I am, married to a former Trappist, living a profoundly monastic sort of life, praying each day during the Divine Office for my Sisters of St. Joseph, fulfilling those vows in a surprising way I could never have imagined.

So how does one understand this sort of thing? Augustine says that for those who love God all things work together for the good. Maybe that also applies to promises we make in the sincerity of our hearts, even if they don't get fulfilled in the manner we anticipate. A sincere promise gets fulfilled in ways beyond imagining.
I think it is Chesterton I'm paraphrasing when I say "Life is a promise that cannot be kept." But today I offer the thought that our lives are a promise that will be kept in surprising, even miraculous ways. And watching that miracle unfold has me smiling with wonder and gratitude.

Broken House with Spring Blossoms



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