Kintsugi is the ancient Japanese art of repairing broken porcelain with gold lacquer. It is said to have originated in the late 15th century when the Japanese Emperor sent his damaged pottery back to China to be repaired. He ordered it not to be mended with the traditional metal staples but instead with gold. It has since become a beautiful art form. The idea is that the object in question becomes more beautiful from having been broken.
We were each created as perfect pieces of porcelain, a true artist’s masterpiece. Sadly, it only takes a matter of breaths here on earth before life sets about to test the strength of our being. Slowly, often imperceptible to the human eye, we endure little fissures to the surface of our spirits. We learn quickly that to live fully into our humanity means that we must endure broken relationships, broken dreams, broken promises, broken bodies, broken faiths, a broken world all around us. The art of faith becomes learning how to mend our brokenness so that we can continue to move forward and fulfill our holy purpose here on earth. Unfortunately, some of us mend the cracks with metal staples. We turn to alcohol, throw money at the glaring chinks in our soul’s armor, or resort to bitterness and despair. We forget that only the Beloved can mend our souls with gold.
How many times have you met a person who has suffered and endured the worst life can throw at them and somehow they mysteriously glow gold…they are more beautiful because of their brokenness. They are stronger for having been broken.
I find myself drawn to the broken, not the ones with the metal staples, but the ones who glow with resilience. They trusted God to see them through the darkness, the hurts, the despair and tenderly mend their broken parts with gold. It is in their very brokenness that they become transformed into these brilliant and authentic “light-bearers” in our world. They prove that there is nothing more beautiful than a resilient soul.
There is no avoiding the cracks in the porcelain of our humanity. Life will make us weep. We will suffer a broken heart. We will lose people we love. We will know intimately the fragility of our bodies and the bodies of those we love dearly. We will endure periods of darkness and wonder where God is. It is part of every human story. And yet, the Master Potter promises to mend in gold!
“Hope is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart; it transcends the world that is immediately experienced, and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons. It is not a conviction that all will turn out well, but the certainty that all will make sense, regardless of how it turns out.” -Vaclav Havel
Live in Hope,