For All The Broken Pencils

A friend sent me an email about how we are all broken as humans. Not one of us is close to perfect and not one of us can be mended in a way to be “unbroken”, the idea in the email instead, is to take a look at how our broken pieces fit together because we are social creatures. We are stronger when we are whole and we can’t be whole on our own.

Her email got me to thinking about my brokenness. I am like a pencil that needs to be sharped because the end snapped off. Only there are no more pencil sharpeners to be found due to mechanical pencils. So I try to sharpen myself as best I can on other objects, knives etc. But each time I do, I break down just a little more.

I am also like that pencil that has had its eraser go hard and brittle. I no longer erase things; instead I leave long messy smudges across the paper. The kind of smudges that a good eraser cannot completely clean up.

But despite my brokenness, despite my damaged parts I am still useful. It’s easy for me to focus on the broken lead, the misshapen point I have made by sharpening myself with a knife or the way my eraser no longer works properly. These are obvious and glaring. They call out my state of brokenness, laying bare for all to see the broken portions that I try to pretend aren’t broken. They are the truth behind the façade that I put up, the one that I pretend I don’t like to use my eraser rather than admit it’s broken.

But the fact is, even with a misshapen lead I can produce works of art, write words that speak from and to the soul. With a broken lead I can still put ideas to paper for does that piece of lead still not leave its mark on the page? I just need to remind myself, now and then that I am more than the broken pieces; I am more than what isn’t working. And that within the brokenness is creativity, strength, usefulness and value. Not just for myself, but within all the other broken pencils out there for we are not yet ready to be discarded.

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