Tears streamed down her face as she hiccuped the words into her daddy’s ear.  “My pumpkin! It took so much work to carve it. I want it to be perfect!”

I had just arrived at my friend’s home. When they had opened the door to greet me, their six-year-old discovered her once beautiful pumpkin was now a wilted, mildewed jack-o-lantern.

As her dad comforted her, our eyes met with a knowing look. His daughter was voicing what we all long for: perfection. Decay had not previously been in her vocabulary.  Without anyone telling her, she knew life is not meant to disappoint. Carved pumpkins should stay looking beautiful. Her father, with great wisdom, didn’t minimize, ignore, or even explain the brokenness of her world. He just held her.

My mind rapidly flicked through evidence of my brokenness: unfinished projects, strained relationships, a once-clean house, wrinkling skin, and disease wreaking havoc in friends’ lives.  I also long for all to be right and well in my world.  I agree, I want it to be perfect. But because I don’t like to experience the pain that comes with imperfection, I try to fix the brokenness too quickly. When that option isn’t available I deceive myself into thinking I don’t care.  I am often tempted by cynicism and easily give up hope for what God is yet to do.

Yet there is always another option. Through a little girl’s disappointment, I was reminded once again to be like a little child and turn to my Heavenly Father.  “Blessed are they that mourn,” Luke says, “For they shall be comforted.” As we mourn the brokenness of our world, our Heavenly Father offers us comfort. But he offers even more than that: the assurance that he has already borne our griefs and promises that he is in the process of redeeming all brokenness. To paraphrase J.R.R. Tolkien, he is in the process of making everything sad, or sin-sick, or decayed “untrue.”

Shari Thomas