I held the broken vase in my hands and searched for the seams. Surprisingly, the wings had broken off in pretty whole chunks. The first wing had lost one piece; the second wing had lost two. I started with the first wing, grasped broken wing-tip and reached for the Elmer's.
The directions said, Spread heavily - weight or clamp, wait 35 minutes. I squeezed on the glue, then wedged that piece into its original place.
And then I held it.
And held it.
I felt like Horton the Elephant sitting on his nest, patiently, obediently. There was nothing else remaining. The house was quiet and I was alone with my forlorn, once-beautiful work of art. I sat holding the piece in place, both my hands needed. I sat breathing, humming a little. I held the vase together - for 35 minutes.
I realized it's not the fixing that's difficult. It's the holding. None of us wants to have our hands tied up that long. It feels a bit wasteful and foolish when there are so many other things to be done.
But the piece held. And I went on with the next wing. Twice more I sat for half an hour, breathing, holding, waiting. At some point I realized what I was doing was a kind of prayer.
And that's all I need to do when a thing is broken. Sit. Wait. Hold. Breathe. Believe, if at all possible. Believe.
When a thing is broken, the question to ask is not: "Can it be fixed?" but:
"Who will hold the broken piece?"
Who will realize the value of what was once beautiful? Who will hold this thing lovingly, gently? Who will wait for it?
Who will hold the broken piece?
I found out my hands could do this thing, and I was as delighted with the repair as if I'd been the original artist. For there is a gift in this. A wholeness. A bird waiting to take wing.