The Mystery of Feeling Broken

July 14/15, 2016

While packing up old books, I found a letter my

grandmother, Sugar, wrote to my mom in April 1975. I was four months old. I never knew Sugar, not really, so this find was a real treasure.

In scrawling cursive, she penned over seven pages. She’d just been to visit us (she was in NC and we were in VA) and wanted to talk to my mother about her trip. She’d tucked recipes into the envelope, too. She talked about showing everyone at the bank pictures of her grandchildren. She wrote about being lonely.

She also wrote about me. I was a terrible baby. I cried all the time. When Sugar came to visit, all she’d do is hold me, my mother’s said many times. And holding me was the only thing that kept me quiet. In the letter, she wrote that I wasn’t right, that my mom should talk to the doctor about me. She wrote that I was nervous and scared, and that my hands wriggled and flailed (still do this).

The letter was quite sweet, but it made me feel broken.

And broken things had taken the forefront of our lives that week - a mysterious coincidence.

The moving company we’d secured backed out! Apparently, they overbooked us. And we were desperately searching for someone to move us during the busiest moving season!

Our mortgage company, who had been promising a closing date at the end of July, suddenly said we couldn’t close until mid-August!

Our Williamsburg home’s inspection yielded a hefty to-do list. Nothing serious, really, but enough to keep us busy. A cracked window. A leaking toilet. A settled porch (I thought this annoying - that we had to raise up our walkway and porch because it had settled and cracked - ugh).

While things were moving quickly at our house, the progress on the yellow colonial wasn’t. It took almost two weeks to get the house inspected! And when it finally happened, our worst fears about buying an older house came true. Joe had gone to Wilmington to be there for the inspection, and he called to tell me the report would be a novel.

“Why can’t anything be easy?” Joe asked, more than once.

Feeling downtrodden and discouraged, I told Joe that maybe we should back out. It sounded like the house would be a money pit. It needed a new roof, new HVAC, and a myriad of other “little” things that added up. Red dollar signs flashed in my head!

Joe was a rock. While he delivered all the bad news about the place, he was still adamant about moving forward.

“It’ll all get fixed. It’ll be fine,” he insisted, with growing irritation.

I felt like a crying baby, frustrating my caregiver with all my nonsensical wailing.

Broken, broken, broken. Everything felt broken.

“My covenant of blessing will never be broken,”

says the Lord, who has mercy on you. Isaiah 54:10

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