By Will Browning
Everyone has probably heard the story of how Humpty Dumpty fell off a wall and how all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put him back together again. Do you think that Humpty felt lonely or begged for them to try again after no one could put him back together? Do you think he called out to God? Do you think he stayed broken, forgotten, and alone forever? Unfortunately, there are hundreds of Humptys all around us, and honestly, I was one of them.
I started to fall, like Humpty did, in the summer of 2017 when I felt spiritually drained and was headed to Uganda for two months. After contracting a bacterial infection halfway through my trip, I found myself broken into hundreds of pieces that no one, not even my friends or family, could put back together. During that fall semester, I continued to take a full 18-hour course load, work several jobs on and off campus, co-choreograph a RUSH dance, and prepare to co-lead an SSP, all while recovering from the initial infection and the seven-week long treatment that left my body susceptible to everything from a common cold to just as common depression. I would do the minimum work just to make it through the day, and I would often wake up in so much pain that I would pray to fall back asleep to escape it. These prayers were desperate grasps at an idea of God, who would do anything I wanted as soon as I asked, instead of the reality of God who did what I needed at the appropriate time. These were usually the only prayers I uttered, and when his answers weren’t the same as mine, I quickly focused back on the obstacles in front of me.
The spring of 2018 was a new beginning. I was doing exponentially better, but I still felt separated from God. I gave him the minimum attention while taking full advantage of my new-found health. I was so hurt by the challenges of the last year that I put up barriers to guard my heart from the only one who could fix it. Two weeks before leading an SSP, God used the speaker at P&W, who shared about coming out of a time of spiritual drought, to knock down the walls I built up before him. Through the message, God reminded me that sometimes things fall apart so better things can fall into place, but it would take time and that He wasn’t going anywhere. This was the start of the long process of putting me back together. God started showing me how each challenge helped to break me, so I could be shaped into a newer and more authentic version of myself. He made me a leader when I thought I had no qualifications. He deepened my understanding of him through a RUSH dance that unintentionally represented my personal relationship with him. He encouraged me every day as I studied for the MCAT this summer by taking the anxiety, sadness, doubt, and frustration and turning it into peace and joy. Coming back to campus, I see God speaking his love into my life in many ways. One way is how he sends my peers to engage in acts of service and quality time with me through deep, spontaneous-yet-intentional conversations. Focusing on that love, I have grown so close to God that ignoring him hurts.
Even though I was broken with little hope of being complete, God stepped in at the perfect moment to start putting me back together. He is showing me how each piece, the good and the bad, fit together to form a beloved masterpiece. He, himself, even holds these pieces together and refuses to let them go. So Yes, Humpty fell off the wall, and no one could put him back together again. Yes, he hoped someone else would help when he felt alone and everyone seemed to give up. Yes, he even cried out to God, but No, he did not remain broken. Through Christ, I was and still am being put together in the indescribable image of God.