As they wait for the scene to begin, the actors pace and move about to stay warm. Camera crew and I discuss possible angles to shoot from in order to achieve the most cinema graphic shot possible. Options include graffiti crowded walls, a second floor balcony door with no balcony, and cracked mortar all around.
This underutilized alley with worn out buildings, broken bricks and cracked sidewalks proved to be the perfect background for our homeless teen story. For the most part, people passed by without a glance or pause to consider our purpose there. Except for one.
Just as I was about to yell “action,” this older gentleman in a long coat and fingerless gloves approached.
“Why do photographers and film people like these broken down places so much for backgrounds?” he asked.
In the moment, I had no grandiose answer to impress him.
“I guess it’s because they are unique and beautiful.” That’s all I could think of as my mind hurried the conversation along so we could get on with the shoot.
The hours passed on and I couldn’t shake that question. I contemplated and mulled over answers in my head. God had something to teach me.
I came to a conclusion that extends beyond answering his specific question.
Instead, my response embraces the broken, bruised, worn out and weary travelers on this journey called life and why the tragedies in our lives can be beautiful.
Why are those rugged and dysfunctional and abandoned scenes so photogenic?
Because the broken and cracked walls add character and depth. The graffiti adds touches of uniqueness and personality. With each bare piece of wood or wall stripped of its color is a personal story of triumph and victory.
With every missing brick or broken glass window pane that screams anguish and pain is an understanding and depth of humanity discovered only through being beaten down and drug across the burning coals.
There is beauty in our brokenness and imperfections when we look at them through the lens of Jesus. He doesn’t wipe away the scars, he brings purpose and meaning to them therefore creating a character that people are drawn to, a depth that people want to explore, a ruggedness that is relatable.
Don’t hide the brokenness, don’t repaint the chipping paint or replace the stripped decor. Instead, let God show you how to make the broken in your life beautiful in the eyes of others.