The Beauty in the Broken: How to Celebrate the Fragility of Life

Relaxation

“Sometimes you get what you want. Other times, you get a lesson in patience, timing, alignment, empathy, compassion, faith, perseverance, resilience, humility, trust, meaning, awareness, resistance, purpose, clarity, grief, beauty, and life. Either way, you win.” ~Brianna Wiest

Last month, I was feeling super fragile.

I was deep in the woes of another round of covid type symptoms, along with an onslaught of chronic health conditions that were flaring up left, right, and center. I was one month into a new job, and after the initial excitement, I was starting to feel wildly overwhelmed.

I spent two weeks waking up with what felt like an axe through my forehead, a body of muscles that were continually twisting and contorting, along with a heavy mind and a tired heart.

My mind was fuzzy and my balance completely off kilter; no matter how hard I tried to pull my body out of bed, my bones wanted to collapse into a pile of rubble. It was time to be broken down and rebuilt.

The Beauty of Fragile Things

December came and went, and I spent the majority of it at home alone, downing vitamin drinks.

I wobbled my way through my second month at work, but missed out on all the fun; gatherings with friends, a once-in a-lifetime retreat experience with work, and all the things that usually make me feel good fell to the side. It was a matter of eat, sleep, repeat.

On the day of the retreat, I woke up feeling super low. My head was still banging, and my mind began to spiral. I had hit my upper limit. My tolerance for pain is super high, having experienced chronic health conditions for the past decade of my life, but the addition of a flu had tipped me over the edge.

I so desperately wanted to be at the retreat and to connect with my new colleagues. I wanted to see my family and friends. I wanted to go back to the gym and feel good again.

However, my only mission for that day was to make it to the shops to get some food.

I wobbled out of the house and into my van, starting the engine with a sigh. The rain hammered down and the wind picked up—a storm was brewing.

Halfway down the lane, I took my foot off the pedal and stopped dead in my tracks.

Was I dreaming? Or perhaps hallucinating?

Before my eyes was the most beautiful blue bird I had ever seen; turquoise feathers ruffled amongst a burnt orange chest, rainbows glinting from a technicolor body—plucked from a tropical rainforest and dropped into my existence. My heart gulped as I witnessed it float down a small stream, struggling to survive with a bent wing and wonky legs, its beady eyes and long black beak begging me for help.

I burst into tears. Here was the most beautiful little creature I had ever seen; why was life so cruel?

The flood gates opened, and this little guy made me feel everything that I had been holding back: a lifetime of dealing with chronic health conditions, holding my broken body together and becoming infinitely resilient to my own detriment. Becoming chronically positive to deal with the negative.

But here was such a beautiful thing.

The fragility of this little bird hit me hard. I felt simultaneously touched and heartbroken, giving thanks for our chance meeting while cursing at life and its bittersweet narrative. This bird said it all.

Out of the Depths and Into the Light

Suddenly, I snapped out of my bittersweet story and put my own experiences to the side.

This little guy needed help, and he needed it now.

Despite my dizzy head, I gently crouched down and scooped him up into a box, his beak squeaking as I told him everything was going to be okay. He was out of the storm and in the warmth of my van.

We drove down the bumpy lane together. He was flapping and squawking, and I was bawling.

Fifteen minutes later, we were at the vets. I handed over his tiny little body, as the receptionists cooed over his beauty and fragility and told me he was, in fact, a kingfisher.

I gave thanks to this creature for reminding me that broken is beautiful; for it is in the broken that we find the depths of our feelings and the truth of our hearts.

I’m sad to share that this little guy didn’t make it, but he experienced his final moments with love and warmth. There was no way I could have left him alone and cold in a wild, windswept storm.

But this little guy moved me greatly. He reminded me that life is filled with beautiful moments and shimmers of light, even when it feels we are passing through dark, stormy skies.

And so, I awoke from my spiral; weeks’ worth of self-pity and sadness lifted from my chest.

My body may be broken, but I was doing my best.

The Beating of a Fragile Heart

December passed, and I lifted from the storm. Life wasn’t perfect, but my perspective had shifted.

While I was still waking up with a plethora of weird aches and pains, I felt hopeful.

I was back at work and back at the gym, and spring was on the horizon; I looked forward to the sunlight streaming in through my window and found peace in watching the moonlight shine through my skylight.

But little did I know, the lesson wasn’t complete.

I was to experience yet another round of beauty laced with fragility; grief was about to hit.

In the second of week of January, I had another visit to the vets.

This time with my gorgeous Persian cat, Basil.

I adopted Basil two years ago, and he lovingly joined me on this happy-go-lucky, topsy-turvy journey called life. Basil is my source of light; he is a creature of comfort and character, and the source of much laughter. He has traveled with me in times of great change, through one of the most difficult heartbreaks of my life, and always makes me smile.

Basil had been acting a bit strange for a few weeks, and after many tests it was suggested that he needed a scan of his heart. And so, we rocked up, Basil meowing and me feeling confident that he was fine. It was just a cold; surely he would be alright?

Wrong. After his beautiful locks had been shaved, the vet returned with the results with a concerned look upon his face. My heart sank into my chest, and I prepared myself for the worst.

Basil had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; he was only two-and-a-half years old, but the disease had progressed rapidly. I was told he didn’t have long left to live.

My body started shaking, and I lost it completely.

I broke down in front of the vet and everything fell out.

“He can’t have a heart condition this bad. I have a heart condition, and I knew he had a heart condition but not this bad. We’ve been through so much together. I get him, and he gets me. I can’t lose him. Please tell me it’s not true. I can’t lose him. I can’t lose him.”

The vet said nothing, and I watched his eyes fill with tears.

“I’m so sorry,” he said. “But there’s nothing we can do.”

The bombshell dropped, and I walked out into the car park, struggling to breathe.

The Complexity of Loving Fragile Things

I spent the rest of that day wailing harder than I had wailed in years. My heart imploded and exploded; a supernova of anger at stupid f**king life and a tidal wave of grief. I didn’t understand why Basil had come into my life if he was just going to be taken away, so early and so brutally.

I got home, looked at my housemate, and said, “What is the point? What is the point of loving something that is just going to be taken away? What is the point of this life and all this f**king pain?”

She looked at me with holes in her heart, feeling the depths of my love, having just recently lost a precious pet herself. For a moment, she said nothing and then the wisdom hit.

“If you hadn’t loved him, who would have? Who would have taken care of him like you did? You got to experience all that love with him, and he got to experience all that love with you. You have given him the best life possible, and that’s such a beautiful thing.”

And she was right. Adopting Basil was one of the best decisions I had ever made.

Even though it hurt like hell, I had experienced more love, more laughter, and more presence with this little furball than I had have experienced before. So many moments, with so many housemates. This bundle of joy had brightened up more than just my life—he had brightened up my world.

Celebrating Our Fragile World

It is not just my life that is fragile, not the kingfisher’s, or my baby Basil’s. It is yours and mine and the world’s at large.

This month has continued to bathe me in the lesson of fragility and acceptance; humility hits me as I listen to stories of young bodies battling life-threatening conditions, walk past park benches feeling the emotions laced through memorial flowers, and witness the cyclic life of bittersweet endings. We live in a delicate world, one that is uncomprehendingly fragile.

Sometimes, we don’t get dealt the hand we desire, nor do those we love.

But it is up to us to take these lessons and shift our perspective from what was lost to what was; to remember the love, the joy, and moments of simple pleasures; to rejoice in the light that so lovingly blessed us, even if just for a short while.

For these fragile moments may take the breath from our lungs and puncture our hearts, but in doing so we are cracked wide open and taught how to love. There is beauty in the broken, and this is how we celebrate the fragility of life. Whether brutal or breathtaking, it somehow serves our lives.

**Image generated by AI

About Jadine Lydia

Jadine Lydia is a spiritual writer, poet, and inspirational content creator. She lives on the Cornish coast in South West England. Her writing shares her happy-go-lucky, holistic approach to love, laughter, and life, inspiring others to deepen their connection to the divine. She empowers others to take ‘intuitive action’ toward manifesting their deepest dreams and desires, through her self-love, mindset & manifestation mailing list, poetry books, and self-development journals. www.jadinelydia.com

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