What’s the best glue for life’s broken pieces?

Broken crucifix glued back together

I purchased a cross when I visited Mexico some years ago. I still have it hanging in front of my desk. It’s a beautiful ivory and brown crucifix with life-like features of Jesus. After returning home I unpacked my suitcase, and the cross was broken, right around the shin bone.

Seeing the broken cross also broke my heart. Holding those two pieces in my hands, I regretted how I packed it. Then other regrets of my life bubbled to the surface. It was one of those moments of recollection that opened the floodgates of emotion. I started thinking about all the pieces of my life broken through my neglect and carelessness, especially relationships with friends, coworkers, and family. Holding those two pieces in my hands was like holding the pieces of many broken relationships.

My wife saw my tears and the broken cross, and said, “Don’t worry about it. We can glue it back together.” It’s something she has done a lot. She collects rabbits, most of which are ceramic. If a ceramic bunny gets knocked over, its ears will almost certainly break off. In a house with three children and two cats, the rabbits have many hair-line cracks where the ears meet the head, and maybe a little excess glue behind the ears. Not perfect, but they’re still part of the collection.

Mending broken relationships is similar. It’s not always perfect. There is usually a remaining crack, the pieces of the previous relationship don’t always align perfectly, and there’s sometimes a glob of glue hidden behind the ears. But like a broken bone, the place of the break is stronger. With God’s grace, a relationship glued back together is deeper and more enduring than before, albeit maybe a little disjointed.

Jesus hanging on the cross is the glue. One of the penitential antiphons speaks of this: “Lord Jesus, you came to reconcile us to one another and to the Father. Lord, have mercy.” It’s no wonder that a broken crucifix led me to recall the broken relationships in my life.

As I consider the fractures and cracks in my life that might need some reconciliation – the errant word to my spouse, the neglect of a friend in need, the frustration directed at my coworkers – the image of a broken cross helps. I can imagine holding the two pieces and praying to the Lord to show me how to glue them back together.

What relationship in your life has been broken that Jesus can help you glue back together?