Blessed Amidst Brokenness


I went for a walk early Saturday evening at the retreat centre I was at and saw this broken tree. I raised my camera and that was when I saw the cross before me. I lowered the lens and looked at this natural gift of resurrection from the broken. This was what was going on for me in this retreat with Fr. Matt Linn, SJ, talking healing.

The content turned out to be different than I imagined and focused on being grateful as a way of of healing. He talked about a study that showed that the least positive people have a higher incidence of Alzheimer’s disease while the most grateful are still active and sharp-minded. Another large study conducted by Harvard, Linn said, since 1939 until the present showed that the biggest factors of being healthy and happy are first gratitude and then forgiveness.

He said that we change through love and the key to love is gratitude. A study in Stanford showed that when two groups who suffered from chronic pain could not sleep, the one that was told to list nightly the two to five things for which they were grateful, slept faster and deeper and woke up refreshed. They also needed no to less medications for their pain. Linn said that the hardest thing to believe is that you can be blessed when everything around you is broken. I am learning that lately on a deeper level.

I have maybe had three nights since January of not sleeping well at night. Even with everything that has happened and is still unknown I feel blessed. So many people tell me I look great and those who are praying say they have a good feeling about what will happen. Most days I have a deep calm about what is to come. I am not sure why. A lot of suffering will be in store. I might change my mind at some point, but currently I return to St. Catherine Laboure’s words: The protection of God is always there. In terms of Ignatian Spirituality, the Principle and Foundation comes to mind. We are born to praise, honour and serve God, in sickness and in health. May my heart become even more grateful for all that is mine right now, even amidst the brokenness.



About sstyves

A Canadian prairie girl rooted in Ignatian spirituality, I seek God in all things. Whether I catch a glimpse of the Divine and delight in its presence in nature or in the beauty of an encounter with someone, I am ever so grateful that I can recognize the Creator. I greet each new day with hope and happiness, expecting blessings and miracles because I am created to praise, love and serve God. This blog is one way of realizing that through my writings, prayers, and photography. To God be the Glory!
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2 Responses to Blessed Amidst Brokenness

  1. Karen Wheadon says:


    Loved this beautiful post. I know fear of the unknown, what is to come for you must cause you to be anxious at times. Probably now in your situation, is one of the most important times ever in your life to feel grateful as I know you do. I believe that gratitude and forgiveness are 2 personal powers that can lead to happiness and peace. They also require practice I guess even in the most difficult times. Your gratitude is providing you calmness:)

    Glad to know people are saying you look well. Love that photo. The cross is so apparent.

    Ben goes for a follow up ENT on Thurs. it’s been over a year now being dizzy everyday. He’s seeing the same ENT he saw last year. They contacted him. I gave him some pointers to bring to the attention of the ENT and hopefully this time she may have more compassion and do some more tests such as MRI. It’s all very worrying. I pray every nite for both you and Ben. I hope on Thurs he can be given one little glimmer of hope that things will improve for him and be normal again.

    Sending you love, Karen🌅

    Sent from my iPad


  2. sstyves says:

    Thanks, Karen. I pray that all goes well for Ben and that he can stay positive. One of his blessings is you…a mother who loves him deeply and holds him every minute of the day in her heart.

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