beauty, community, fragmented, togetherness, wounded

Fragmented Beauty

Lily Chang © 2018

Sometimes the impact occurs fairly early in life.

One of my children struggled with sight. I was convinced severe nearsightedness wasn’t the only issue at hand. True, she couldn’t identify anything that was merely a yard away. But, something in the reaction, her panic, sent off alarming sirens. An optometrist didn’t figure out the problem. With a required change in insurance, I found a practice with eye specialists.

Once we had arrived, it didn’t take long to examine my daughter’s eyes that required minimal input from her but indicated much. Then, a pediatric ophthalmologist checked her out and sober seriousness silenced the room.

The diagnosis came.

Congenital glaucoma. My daughter was born with this fragmentation, and I had no idea.




Panic seized my exhausted, emotional being, as I stared at the just-past-newborn twins.

The normal eye pressure range is between 12 and 21. In one of her eyes, it was hovering in the upper 50s. In the other eye, the pressure was in the lower 60s.

She needed surgery right away.

Or, she would lose her sight permanently from her eyes exploding.

Anyways, my daughter didn’t just survive that, but she soared. She started taking violin lessons a few months before the diagnosis and surgeries. During those early months, she learned to play more by touch than sight. In spite of these limitations, she learned to focus, practice, love, and dedicate herself to music.


Let’s take an example where fragmentation occurred later in life.

A person close to me showed unusual and concerning drinking behavior.

It started with drinking half a glass of whiskey super fast, like it was going out of style.

But then, he continued by going on alleged walks but returning, reeking with pungent alcohol and an obvious change in countenance.

I spoke with him about it, without much impact.

I shared concern regarding his drinking problems with those closest to him. I called for an intervention.

By his doing, I wasn’t present when any of the meetings or conversations took place.

He convinced people that he wasn’t the one with the problem and that I was the problem.

He didn’t have any issues with drinking. I was just making that up.

AA, treatment facilities. Other people had addiction problems. But, not him.

DUIs, loss of jobs, being hospitalized in the ICU more than once, repeated reports of causing a ruckus weren’t enough to indicate drinking problems.

Instead of admitting being an addict, he lied to mutual friends, family, and colleagues. He fabricated stories to others to garner sympathy and support, that resulted in enabling addict behavior.

If I was told ahead of time, I’d be facing a vengeful and angry narcissist, who still doesn’t think he’s an addict or has a problem, I wouldn’t have signed up. I wouldn’t even want to be in the same city or state.

But, the same experience that turned my life upside down and inside out also prepared me to fellowship with others. To get down in the trenches and walk alongside others. Really listen and be present. To give people in similarly difficult life situations more than the head-bobs, sideways hugs, and other useless gestures typically offered to comfort the listener and thereby isolating the ones bearing the burdens.


This is where the beauty is.

My place is yours. Come whenever you like.

Here’s a meal I made for you. Let’s eat together.

When sadness, pain, or grief run so deep, we can just sit and cry together. There is no other (more important) place to be or go.

I’m here. And, I’m staying for the long haul.


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