There is beauty in brokenness

Wheat harvest makes me sentimental. Proud to be from the heartland. Harvest is hope realized, the reaping of a crop planted in faith and hard work. Harvest is family coming together to work toward a common goal, countless meals prepared and long nights in the field.

While I?m not a farmer?s daughter, I come from a farming community in southwest Kansas. Some?times in the summer, when the wheat turned golden, we?d drive to the country to watch the combines devour a field, stopping to chat with friends and family or a neighbor from down the road.

There is wild beauty in a field of wheat, amber heads bowing in the wind, as the sea stirred from its slumber in rhythmic waves. Camera in hand, I sought to capture that beauty.

One summer, I knelt on the ground and focused my lens on the intricate delicacies of the amber grain. Only a handful of heads were in focus, the field a softly blurred sea extending to the horizon were it met a summer sky blue as a reflection of the ocean itself. Tufts of clouds eased their way across the frame, providing added depth and effect.

I liked the photo so much, I printed it off and framed it. I even put it on homemade greeting cards to sell at a local museum.

One day, a coworker more familiar with the intricacies of farming happened to see my wheat photo.

?That?s not good wheat,? she said. ?See how it?s broken??

Upon closer examination, even my untrained eye could tell something wasn?t quite right with the head in the center of the frame. Only half of the kernels were there, as if the head had simply broken in two.

My mind did a quick scan. How many people had either bought or received one of my homemade greeting cards with that photo adorning the front? Had they noticed the broken wheat? Did they laugh at my ignorance? Embarrassed, I wanted to take those cards right off the shelves.

That was more than three years ago. And only this summer, as I again drove past waving fields of grain, did the realization hit me.

Yes, the wheat in my photo may be broken. But there is still beauty in the brokenness.

Somehow, that struck a chord.

I don?t think any of us can claim to have it all together. There may always be aspects of our lives that are just a little bit broken. But there is still beauty to be found, even there, in the broken bits. I am reminded of this every time I see my wheat photo hanging proudly in my living room.

Just the other week I read this quote from motivational speaker and former NFL football player Trent Shelton: ?We are all a little broken, but the last time I checked, broken crayons still color the same.?

No matter the circumstance, no matter where you are or what?s holding you back?no matter how broken?hold your head high.

We?ve got coloring to do.

Janae Rempel covers Tabor College and high school sports for the Free Press. You can reach her at

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