Broken Window Theory
There is a term in criminology called the broken window theory, which suggests people place less value on areas with broken windows and graffiti covered buildings. Criminals view this as an invitation to commit more crime in an area already deemed helpless to fight back.
I am surrounded by broken things.
My fridge has a large crack in one of the shelves and is missing the grill at the bottom of the freezer. The front of my car is currently in the back seat awaiting an insurance assessment thanks to the guy who thought the intersection should be treated like a 4-way stop despite the traffic lights telling him to stop. The corner of my phone is slightly mangled after surviving a 4-story drop off a hotel balcony.
I am surround by broken people.
Cancer attacks my uncle’s body like a war of 100 enemies against an army of one. Anxiety ripples through my co-worker’s chest like an earthquake about to ruin an entire city. Heartache crushes my friend’s happiness after her relationship ends.
This past week I have observed so much brokenness that my heart has become heavy and shattered. I long for a world of goodness, where people are kind and willing to shove their egos aside to help someone in need. Where no one gets sick or injured or has to watch their loved ones suffer. This longing consumes me and I think about little else.
For every broken thing I’ve encountered, I’ve seen countless more good things. Broken windows and graffiti may indicate a community in trouble, but being a little broken doesn't have to mean being less valuable or helpless.
My fridge continues to keep my food cold. My car still drives. My phone functions as it should. My uncle’s cancer goes into remission. My co-worker learns to cope with her anxiety so she can find peace. My friend’s heartache is replaced with the realization that she will love again.
We are all a little broken but it doesn't change who we are as people. We must learn to see past the brokenness and instead look for the beauty that surrounds it.
After all, when you look through a broken window, does it change the view outside?