Building in Place of the Broken

‘It suited the white man to break the tribe,’ he continued gravely. ‘But it has not suited him to build something in the place of what he has broken.’

Cry, the Beloved Country p. 56

Unintended consequences. We begin to meddle into what has been for our own benefit, and we find that we’re holding broken pieces of something valuable—and those pieces cut. 

But we press on. Not realizing that those cuts get deeper the longer we hold on to the broken pieces. We are oblivious to the option that maybe—even though what we’ve broken seems irreplaceable—maybe we should attempt to stem the flow of blood and put something in place of what we’ve broken. 

The hard work of fixing the unintended consequences is costly and time consuming and has to reckon with the new habits and thought patterns that we have formed by our initial breaking. So we continue to plunge ahead, demanding more authority as a protective measure. Better gloves, more gloves, and we’ll pass rules against sharp edges, but sharp edges are what you get when you break things, so all the rules in the world won’t file down the edges—or change a heart. 

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