Have you ever noticed a tiny struggling plant growing in the crack of a sidewalk? Do you wonder at its resilience? When I was a child we played a game of jumping over cracks in the pavement to avoid “breaking our mother’s backs.” Whoever was able to negotiate the sidewalk cracks and progress the farthest won. Heavily damaged sidewalks were the most challenging leaving little space to land without touching the dreaded cracks..
Sometimes I wonder, what is hiding beneath that pavement? It appears impenetrable until it suddenly isn’t. Somehow a crack begins and widens and soon there is greenery spreading in spidery lines like a natural kintsugi. Some people, less than pleased to find these volunteer plants drawing attention to the damage of their walkways, poison them, only to have another eventually sprout taking its place as nature continues its commitment to growth.
There are experiences in our lives that can lead us to create a protective barrier. We have been wounded, and we are now wary of allowing anyone or anything beneath the surface. Only through the widening of tiny cracks can anything germinate from what we have buried deep, and only in conducive circumstances. We need to feel at least a tiny glimmer of sunlight, a drop of rain penetrating the darkness to allow any growth upward and outward. We need a community that will not poison us or crush our vulnerable tender growth as if playing a child’s game. But most importantly, we need to feel safe enough to see the cracks in our outward personas not as threats, but as openings to allow vulnerability to grow into something new.