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Shards of Glass

Look at this temple that soars to the sky

Now look a bit closer — do you see why?

The bright colours that adorn such lofty towers

Are fragments of glass no bigger than flowers


Once beautiful china, they were dumped in the sea

As worthless and broken, nothing to see


When I saw their beauty, and learned from whence it came

I reflected that life is somewhat the same

We all have our sorrows, failures, and wounds

That haunt our memories like shards of old spoons

If we nurse our regrets, our sorrows stay sharp

Whenever we think of them, they cut to the heart

If we give them to God, the artist of life

He transforms them into flowers, figures, and art


The divorce that left me hurt and alone

Left me free to explore where vulnerable children roam

On the day that I travelled to see Wat Arun

God led me to the school where they found a home

In fact, dear children, you’re the reason I came

But until God introduced us, I didn’t know your names


The sickness that left me unable to work

Has made me more sensitive to those who are hurt

The freedom I have let me care for my Mom

I wouldn’t trade anything for being there at the end


Some hurts, yes, I’m nursing, they still can draw blood

I should give them to the artist, and see what he does

I can’t fathom now how these pieces will fit

But the artist makes them beautiful, even though they can’t be fixed

It’s not just our successes, our strengths and our wins

That are useful to God in the designs that he spins

Sometimes he has to break a shard even more

To become the right shape for the picture in store


Don’t fret, my dear friend, if your life is now tattered

At the end you will see that nothing’s wasted in the pattern

of the beautiful picture God is making from you

Give the pieces to Jesus – he knows just what to do



January 20, 2019, after seeing Wat Arun, the temple of dawn, decordated with shards of broken porcelain. On that day  my first full day in Bangkok — God led me not to the temple, but to the Buddhist teacher, Hartanto, who founded the Community Learning Center for at-risk children there. It makes something beautiful of their lives, and enriched mine, as I sojourned with them a while.


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