Sunday, March 21, 2010

BROKEN

There was a time in David’s education when he decided to take a semester off at Yale so he could visit his friend Karl in Utah and see what it was that made Karl tick. Dave had met Karl their freshman year at Bethel Park High School in PA. It was the first year Dave attended a public school. Up until then he had been with the same forty kids, from kindergarten on, in parochial schools. It was a new experience to be taught by non-wimpled women or by the priest in their parish.

This was in the day of student tracking in public schools, and it turned out that Karl (now a heart surgeon in AZ) was in many of Dave’s classes. They also played football, basketball and track together. Dave says he noticed, when they were at parties, that Karl never drank or smoked. He didn’t make a big deal out of it, he just didn’t do it. Out of respect for Karl, and often because he had the only car and was the designated driver, Dave most often chose not to “partake” as well. He and Karl became the best of friends, their homes became each other’s homes, and Dave knew that Karl had something of a peace and joyfulness, though I think they rarely talked about it as teenagers. After high school graduation Karl headed off to BYU in Utah and Dave headed up to Connecticut.
This was at the tail end of the tumultuous 60’s and early 70’s, when Dave’s weekends were spent driving his motorcycle to Dump Nixon rallies in DC, or peace rallies in other places. Came a time when he got to thinking about his own beliefs, his own sense of peace and direction. That’s when he thought of Karl, and wanted to know what drove him to be who he was. So he arranged for a leave of absence from Yale and headed out to BYU. It’s a long and a beautiful story, which ended up with him deciding he wanted to join the LDS church. But he knew he could not make a clear minded and unbiased decision about baptism until he left the comfort of his friends, including Karl. So he went back to Yale. The first day there he was sitting in a class waiting for the professor when he struck up a conversation with a beautiful young girl named Katrina. He mentioned his recent return from Utah, and she asked him if he was a Mormon. “No” he replied. “Not yet.”

“My sister’s a Mormon.” Katrina’s sister Annette was also a student at Yale. “They have some sort of class for Mormons on Wednesday nights, here on campus. You should go.” And so David and Katrina and Annette went to what turned out to be a small institute class on campus, with a handful of students. It was taught by a grad student they called Brother Jeff. Bro. Jeff was earning his Doctorate at Yale.

Brother Jeff’s last name was Holland. Jeffrey R. Holland. David received an amazing education, a the feet of many notable professors, decorated scholars, renowned mentors in the ivy halls at Yale and other schools; but he says the finest teacher he ever had stood at the front of a small class of students on Wednesday nights and taught him about God.

Jeffrey R. Holland is now an apostle, set apart to lead all to Christ. We listen to him speak when we are lucky enough. At least every April and October at our church’s General Conference.
(here's a link to his Conference talk in April 2006: Broken Things to Mend:

I remember hearing Elder Holland speaking about how the Lord must have a special place in his heart for broken things. Brokenness brings us to humility; humility makes us needy; our neediness opens our hearts to be filled by the Great Filler of Hearts.

This is one way He is able to make “weak things strong.”

With these thoughts planted in my mind and heart, I read an article one day in a newsletter for antiques dealers. I used to deal in antiques until I eventually sold all the furniture and bought recording equipment. There was an article in the paper about a collector of antique Roseville vases. The reporter noted the hundreds of valuable vases this person owned. When he asked her which was her favorite, her response was,

“Well, my favorite isn’t here. It’s on my piano.”

She took him out to her piano. Sitting atop it was indeed, a Roseville vase called the Bleeding Heart, but it had absolutely no monetary value. It had been broken in over a hundred pieces, and then glued back together.

“I love this,” she said, “because it is obvious to me that someone cared enough about it that when it shattered, they labored to find where each piece fit. It just says something to me.”

It said something to me as well.

Broken

I. It was made out of clay It was shaped like a heart
And “I Love You” was written inside
But I fell after school And the gift broke apart
So she gathered it up while I cried
Build: Then I watched as my mother pieced it together
Said she just might like it better this way
Chorus: Broken clouds give us rain
Broken ground opens up and lets it in
Broken seeds growing wheat
Make the bread that we break and eat
So much good can be grown from
What has been broken

II. By the light of the moon He kissed me goodnight
And I looked up and wished on a star
He swept me away Then he shattered my heart
So she gathered me up in her arms
Build: She said “You won’t believe this But one day you’ll see this
And be thankful it happened this way.”

Repeat Chorus

Bridge: Sure as the stars above I found a truer love
And made him my own
And he was at my side The day the angels cried
And carried her home

Repeat Chorus :
Broken clouds gave us rain Broken ground opened up and welcomed her in....

Tag: So much good has been grown from what has been broken.

When Pontiac Rocket was first released a friend called obviously upset.

“Oh dear, dear…I am so sorry I did not know you had lost your mother!”… he was quite distraught.

He was used to my songs being true to my history. Thank the Lord this one was not! My mother is alive and, happily, still the matriarch of our family. But this is how she is, and how she was. She taught me many true and beautiful lessons.

It is the pattern God designed for all of us to be broken. All of us. But like the hands of the person gluing together the Bleeding Heart vase, He can correct our brokenness. He can make us whole, completely whole, like-new whole. Elder Holland knows that, my mother knows that, David knows it, and I know it. The knowing is a gift, and so is the mending.


Here's a YouTube video of BROKEN, by Seminary teacher Kevin Oviatt:

3 comments:

  1. Now I am seven days behind. My house - I have broken it to reshape it, ready for the new phase of family that is coming to us. But I am living in the shards and dust of the process, and it is disorienting and strange. I wish we were recording Pontiac in our studio at this very moment. You see so clearly, and speak so clearly - the simple base workings of the universel

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  2. So glad I read this before going to bed tonite. My lesson in seminary tomorrow closes with the end of that talk by Elder Holland. Now it will be followed with the Broken video. Grateful for your words, grateful for your gift and most grateful to be reminded of that greatest gift given to all of us by Him who loved us all. Thank you!!

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  3. i love love love this song. love the imagery.

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