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Crushed Diamonds


There was a time in my life when these summer days were some of the hardest days of the year. I was 100 miles from home in a remote area of Ohio, surrounded by double razor wire and broken dreams. Beyond the fence, corn fields stretched as far as the eye could see. It felt like an island in the middle of no man’s land.

Every fourth of July, when the sun would go down, I could still hear the explosion of fireworks as people gathered to celebrate. And sometimes from my window, I could even see a peak of explosive color in that dark sky.

I could also hear and see a lifetime of memories in my mind. Memories of my uncle’s annual picnic and the festive red, white, and blue desserts my Mom would make. Or the time a firework shot off in the wrong direction and landed under grandma’s chair. Thankfully, with no injuries.

I could hear the reminder that life was still going on outside those gates. 

Today, I am on the other side of that experience. That time in my life is also now a memory, and I no longer have to just sit as an observer of celebrations going on around me. But to be honest, the journey to healing and participating in life again has been harder than I anticipated.

There is a story in John chapter five about a man laying by a pool who has been paralyzed for thirty-eight years.

This paralyzed man laid by the pool day after day because the belief was that the pool contained healing powers and that if he were just able to get into the water, he would be healed. Jesus approaches him and asks him, “Do you want to be made well?”

It seems like a ridiculous question, right? To be paralyzed for thirty-eight years and to be asked if he wants to be made well?  There is a more significant point at work here. Don’t miss it.

The man answers with an excuse. The hard truth? Sometimes we don’t want to be made well.  Along the way, we learn to accept things as they are, and dysfunction becomes the new normal that we just learn to live with. We settle with sitting as an observer of the life we could have. A life that is free of all that enslaves us.

I have done this in many ways in my own life. One time I waited two years to see a doctor for the pain I was having on the bottom of my foot. A foot that I use daily for walking!  Deep sigh.