Growing up as a Chinese American daughter of a mail-order bride and a busboy in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Bonnie Gray never felt like she belonged. She spent her childhood hiding “Chinese Bonnie” who lived in a dysfunctional home in poverty in order to be accepted as cheerful “American Bonnie” who lived a life that looked like everybody else’s.
She tried to throw away pieces of her past—the ones she thought no one wanted—but in the process, she discovered God was tenderly gathering all the broken fragments to build a new story of faith and joy. She learned that it’s only when we learn to embrace the truth of our past that we can finally make sense of our present and celebrate what truly matters.
We all have it. It’s that thing in us that we don’t talk about because we don’t know how to put words to it. It’s that feeling that rises in us and makes our throats tighten and our voices tremble.
It’s the disquiet in our soul, the ache we always feel but never get used to; the silent companion who takes up too much room in our hearts. It’s our unspoken broken.
The mom who tries to manage her mentally ill adult son — she feels the sting, the ache. When you see her on Sunday and she smiles and hugs you and asks how your week went, can you hear what is not said? Can you hear her unspoken broken? It is there, screaming to be heard and held and helped.
My girlfriends Joan and Paula came over last week to work out with me, wanting to try out a new walking exercise routine. I greeted them at the door with my knees wrapped in Ace Bandages, Advil bottle in hand — and this was before the workout even started. I also sprayed water on myself to make it look like it made me sweat just thinking about a work out.