Bricolage: Rebuilding With What You Have

By Lydia Bishop
The Flame Volunteer Writer

It was Christmas morning 2014, when I realized that I had died. I woke up alone, in a cold, dark apartment with empty walls, a broken family and not a friend in sight. The weight was so heavy, I couldn’t move. I laid there, eyes closed, mournfully crying the most excruciating expression of pain one could imagine. Tears sliced through my face like pieces of shrapnel from the life that had exploded around me, and I clinched my teeth so hard from the anger that was overwhelming me that my face was throbbing. I was drowning, and no one was there to save me. Paralyzed, I had finally come to a realization that my life would never be the same and would never be what I had always dreamed it would be. It was gone. Everyone was gone. Everything was gone.

Memories of the Christmas before began to flash in a foggy unconscious. Waking up my 2- and my 4-year-old from their warm little beds, an aromatic cup of coffee and a Christmas tree that twinkled unlike any Christmas tree I had ever seen. The day before I spent singing at all the Christmas Eve services, surrounded by friends and by more love than one could ever feel … and now, blinding flashes of a Christmas past were the only things I could hold on to.

I got out of bed and opened my laptop to scroll through pictures and videos, to see if I could find anyone or anything to heal the pain. My phone stayed silent for hours. There were no more smiles, there were no more friends. All I had was anger. And anger made for a very cold bed. It was the anger and resentment that I let consume me, that drove everyone away. I was angry at people, angry at Church, angry at God, and I had a dire hate for myself. Where I once was a light, now I was nothing but a 6 o’clock shadow, trying to feel past the numb.

I had died a long time ago, and it became crystal clear to me that morning. No one was in the front row crying at my funeral, and no one was there to give the eulogy.  From perfect, to abandoned wreckage. Overnight, I had lost everything I had ever had. I had a perfect family, a home, two ministries that I cherished being a part of, friends and family that were stronger than any force to be reckoned with and a future that was in line to be everything I had ever dreamed of. It was all now dust in the wind.

Two choices laid before me on that morning: I stay and drown, or I stand up and face the hurricane. My life would never be the same if I moved forward. I didn’t want to get out of the shadows because I couldn’t face climbing that mountain, but drowning would only suffocate what I had left. So I stood up that day, with broken legs and a shattered Christmas present.

See, there is no rebirth in life; only in death can we be reborn. Until you sit down and face the reality that things will never be the same, you cannot move forward. I don’t stand now because my life is perfect and I do not hurt; I stand before my death, because I once caused someone else’s. And unlike mine, Christ’s blood dripped undeservedly. He told me that morning to put my nails and hammer down when I laid upon that tree, trying to put them through my own hands and feet. He took the knife away from you as you tried to stab my side. He didn’t do this because I was perfect and didn’t deserve it. He did it because in His perfection, He was my exchange. He was Who I found that Christmas morning, scrolling through the pictures, trying to find someone. Jesus was the only one I needed to see.

That doesn’t mean that since I stood, things are perfect. Bricolage — rebuilding with what you have isn’t easy, and it can be one of the hardest things you will ever have to do. I don’t have the pieces I used to have. Rather, I have a whole new puzzle: pieces from the rubble, and pieces I still have yet to create. I stand, though, because I’ve chosen to rebuild with what I have. Behind the smile, and behind your perceptions, everyone has a story. Bricolage is mine.

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