Those who know me know I love pigs. I’ve collected pig figurines since I was in college. My kitchen is peppered all throughout with those pigs. Most are very dear to me. I’ve purchased many of them myself— some at yard sales, some on eBay, and some in stores. Many have been sweet gifts from friends and family. I treasure them all.
One of our cats, Nugget, is a jumper. We broke him from jumping on the kitchen counters when he was a kitten. But here, two years later, he’s forgotten his good manners and occasionally he jumps. Lately, we’ve caught him jumping up on the top-level of a 2 tiered shelf in our kitchen where I keep many of the pigs I’ve collected over the years. I can’t seem to break him from this and quite honestly, I can’t fathom how he even accomplishes this little acrobatic feat of his but he does. This shelf is high! I’ve seen him do it with my own eyes. Nugget is quite agile and seems to defy gravity sometimes.
A few months ago, as my husband sat at the kitchen table enjoying his morning bowl of cereal and reading the newspaper, there was a loud crash behind him which caused him to duck and want to run for cover. He turned around to see Nugget on the top kitchen shelf (again!) and the shattered remains of a rather large resin pig scattered across the kitchen floor. This was a pig I had bought back in 2005 at The Apple Barn Store. My husband mistakenly thought this was a much beloved pig I had acquired from my dearly departed mother, but the pig he was thinking about (a Royal Copley Farmer Pig bank) sat on the opposite end of this shelf and was unharmed. My husband dreaded telling me that my beloved pig had met its demise in this way. So he was somewhat relieved when I informed him that the smashed pig wasn’t the antique treasure I had acquired from my mother.
My loving husband offered to glue the busted piggy back together for me but I told him no—that there were too many pieces and even after it was glued, there would be far too many gaps. I told him I would just put the pig in the garbage, mumbling something under my breath about how my pig collection was getting a little out of hand anyway and taking over the kitchen, and how I had been meaning to cull some of the pigs anyway. But three weeks later, that broken swine still sat on my kitchen counter and for some reason I struggled to pick up the broken pieces and toss them in the trash can. It’s not because it was one of my favorite pigs or that I was attached to this particular pig. I wasn’t.
Several weeks after the fatal pig crash, I was standing at the stove stirring a pot of green beans for dinner. As I stirred, I stared at the busted up pig all sprawled out across my kitchen counter and entered deep contemplation of why I just had not been able to throw that busted up pig away. There had to be some reason I was missing. Then it came to me. I decided it was because on the days leading up to the pig breaking, I had felt like that pig—broken and scattered with pieces of me also missing. I had hoped that something or someone, maybe even God, could “fix” me and not just discard me. Some days I felt so busted and flawed and worried that maybe, just maybe, that I wasn’t worth trying to fix. And if someone did try to “glue” me back together, there would be far too many missing pieces— too many gaps.
As much as I hate to admit it, I felt at the time that God must surely be looking down at me, shaking his head and saying, “Why bother… She’s too broken to try to fix,” before moving on to someone more deserving of His time. There were far too many days that I didn’t feel worthy to even go before Him, to even kneel in His presence. I told God that too. Day after day I pray for God’s help and day after day I sin. I vow to control my tongue, to not talk so much, to speak kinder words, to be more compassionate, more patient, and to help others. But then before you know it, the venom’s spewing from my mouth like an angry rattlesnake, I’m whining and complaining again, I’m judging others or being hypocritical. Or even though I vowed to not gossip again, I do. Or instead of thinking kind and loving thoughts, I criticize. I wonder if I’ll EVER get it right! Some days I think I’m always going to be like this busted up, sprawling, broken pig.
And then there’s the clearer times when I see the truth. The truth that there is not a single person on this planet who ISN’T broken. We live in a broken world where people hurt other people instead of choosing to show love. People speak out of anger. People criticize and words hurt. There is evil everywhere in this world. Yeah, I’d say that sometimes the whole busted up world is looking a whole lot like the pig on my counter. I sometimes wonder…. Can it be fixed? Some days I just want this whole crazy whirling blue earth of ours to just stop spinning long enough so I can climb right off.
I’ve heard it said more than once that sometimes it takes us feeling busted and broken and brought down to our knees… maybe even curled up in a fetal ball on the bathroom floor wracked with sobs before we totally surrender to the God who loves us with a love so amazing we can’t even fathom or comprehend it. A God who IS love. A God who loves us so much that He sent His own son to suffer and die for our sins so that we could be saved from death. It takes us being broken and cracked so that His light can shine through our brokenness. And it’s that light that gives us all hope. If we allow that light to shine, the darkness will disappear.
I’ve learned that while I am on this earth, that I will continually be a “work in progress.” Yes, I am most definitely broken and I will continue to stumble and to sin. Because I am a created human being and not God, I will never become Christ, but hopefully, as my journey on this earth continues, I will move toward becoming like Christ. I can’t do that on my own, but with God’s help I can. God does not expect perfection in me. It took me a long time to believe this and okay I’ll admit that this perfectionism thing is something I still struggle with from time to time. I do know this. God will not just throw me away (like I finally threw away the busted-up pig). This Christlike transformation which began at my salvation, will continue throughout my entire earthly life.
God will never, EVER abandon what he starts.
Isn’t it funny the lessons that can be learned from a cat knocking over a resin pig figurine? 🙂