discover your created self



Last night, I went to see the play “Purple Heart City.” It’s a new play, written by a local playwright, set against the back drop of the Cold Water Creek nuclear waste story. But it really is about broken people. So, I shouldn’t be surprised that I woke with a phrase about brokenness reverberating through my mind. What surprised me was that it was such a specific phrase, and that it was in German.

This is the phrase that came to me: “the vonderbrach.” I went back to sleep, and waking again later, the phrase pestered me until I got up to write it down. I wrote it down, and returned to sleep. In the dream, I milled about with people in a large, ancient castle that had been converted into a hotel.

When I got up for the day, I remembered the dream. The phrase seemed like nonsense to me, but I went online to see if the  word existed. All that came up were various entries in German. If you break the phrase down, it can be seen as von der brach.

von= from, by or of

der= the

brach= broken

“vonderbrach” meaning “from the broken” or “of the broken” or “by the broken” could describe the people of my dream. And my heart, too. So much brokenness in this world, and so little hope at times.

Then I remembered, a verse from the Psalms:

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3 KJV)

I am from the broken world, yet there is a promise of healing that comes from the broken One; by this brokenness we can be healed.

As we draw closer to the season of remembering Jesus, not only his resurrection, but also his death, this “vonderbrach” seems like a timely word to me.

As I left the play, I told one of the actors that I loved the story. He said, but it’s so sad. I said, but I love sadness. Sometimes we need to grieve all that is broken. Love, brokenness and grief are inseparable.

It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to hope, too.

What does brokenness mean to you? What brings you hope?

8 responses to ““vonderbrach””

  1. Kel,

    This was very meaningful and thought provoking. You always have an inspired way with communicating rich thoughts and truths. Thank you, Marijo

    1. Thanks, Marijo! It was one of those compelling, defining moments that I just had to put into words…glad to provoke thought and share inspiration. 🙂

  2. I keep rereading and pondering this, Kel. I love your thoughts here, am especially focused on your statement near the end that “love, brokenness and grief are inseparable.” Indeed, only a “broken one” can understand the depth of another’s grief; only *the* “broken One” has been so acquainted with grief that He can identify with all our sorrows and broken places—and what a love *that* is! Pondering on… Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Sylvia- I appreciate your companionship here in the blogosphere…both of us acquainted with various griefs and finding love infused ways to ease each others pain through words and Presence.

  3. I, too, love sadness and brokenness. Something about it draws me in, perhaps it’s the vulnerability of it all. There is an honesty about oneself when you are broken and sad. At the same time, it pains me to see all that is broken in this world. I love this post, thank you for sharing.

    1. Amanda-Yes, the vulnerability and the authenticity of being honest. And sadness if acknowledged and mourned often brings me comfort. Embracing pain is hard, yet healing at the same time. Thanks for sharing this love for sadness and brokenness, and I admire your desire to help other’s see it through the written word and stories.

  4. […] Purple Heart City at Tesseract Theatre: I’m doing a full write up on this shortly. But go see it. Meanwhile, my mom saw it too, and she shared her response here. […]

  5. “What does ‘brokenness’ mean to you.” To me, it means intently sad. A person who is faced with the demise of their small child is broken. A sudden loss of a friend can cause us to feel broken. When these school shootings happen, I feel intense sadness for their families and their communities.We have a nephew who was married to his wife for 54 years. He feels extreme sadness, almost to the point of being broken.

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About Me

Hi! My name is Kel Rohlf. I am an intuitive mixed-media artist, creative writer and performer. Life is a performance. I often attend.


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