For a long time, I thought that things – people, experiences, relationships, myself – could be fixed. I’ve since come to believe that while improvement, transformation, and growth are possible, and even desirable, fixing something is not.
To fix something implies that you can make it what it once was – restore it to its original state, unblemished – as if it had never been broken. It’s a mistake, this logic: a misguided notion, an unattainable and even undesirable goal that kills potential.
To want to fix things is honorable; it implies a sense of justice and fairness in the world…to right a wrong, to cure a disease.
But I think in the focus we place on fixing, we lose sight of the potential of the cracks. When something cracks open like an egg – be it an object, or our hearts – the messiness is evident, even overwhelming at first. Everywhere we look, there are shards that must be pieced back together – millions of tiny pieces seemingly too innumerable to count.
But we have more power than we think. We can change our perspective. We can look at what has been broken, and we can figure out how to put the pieces back together to create something new and potentially much, much better – even if we don’t recognize immediately what the transformation has given us.
With a little grace and a second glance, we can hopefully discover that by relaxing our need to fix things, everything will settle into its proper place.
Ruth Andrew Ellenson received the National Jewish Book Award for editing “The Modern Jewish Girl’s Guide to Guilt.” www.guiltguide.com