This post of part of a series on the subtle gifts of kintsugi gold. In this series, I am sharing some of the gifts I have discovered in the gold of my own healing in the hopes that it will help others identify the quiet gifts available to them. All people are different, however, and all forms of brokenness and healing are likewise unique, so my experience may or may not resemble yours. I hope it can still be a starting point for searching for and discovering your own gifts hidden in your healed scars.
When life falls apart, everything in sight looks like an ending. The relationship or job or financial security or good health or beloved dream is over, shattered into pieces, finished.
It looks like the end of the story.
But just like the darkness of night gives way to light of dawn and the cold barrenness of winter gives way to the fresh growth of spring, these endings are inevitably also the beginnings of new chapters of our story.
It's just really hard to even imagine that when standing in midst of the shattered ruins of what your life had been.
You're still stuck in the darkness surrounded by the cold barrenness of winter, and the dawn of spring feels like a myth.
Waiting for spring
The hard part about waiting for spring is that it comes when it comes. There is nothing at all any of us can do to make it get here faster.
No amount of wishing or hoping or hard work on our part will change the timing one bit.
Waiting for healing and the opening of a new chapter in our lives after they've fallen apart is much the same, but there's even less of an indication of when we might expect something to happen.
At least with spring's arrival, we have a general idea of the schedule because we've watched it happen every year. We know the signs of the natural world around us. We have a calendar to give us hints of the timing.
There are no such guides in the wasteland of life's endings as we await new beginnings. There is no schedule for healing.
But the more times I go through endings in my life, the more I am learning to recognize the subtle signs of movement happening beneath the surface that serve as portents of coming change.
Hard work and surrender
While there's nothing I can do to accelerate the process or dictate the timing, I have found that there are many things I can do to slow it down or derail it.
One of the most effective ways I have (inadvertently) discovered for derailing the process of healing and the birth of new beginnings is to try to carefully control it and dictate what the new beginning will look like.
For example, every time I've tried to speed up the healing after the end of a relationship by rushing into a new one, the new relationship has failed (often spectacularly with much additional damage) and has slowed my overall recovery.
Rushing into the first available next career or job option when one is ending has led to delays in finding something that actually fits well as I stuff myself into situations that ultimately aren't good matches.
But at the same time, sitting back and doing nothing at all slows things down as well.
There's a delicate balance of hard work and surrender that works best.
Hard work is needed to do what I can to prepare myself to be ready for healing and new opportunities—by facing my emotions and pain, working on forgiveness, watching for new life arriving, cultivating new dreams as they arise—while at the same time waiting patiently for the process to unfold as it will, not rushing or forcing or dictating my will onto what happens.
This may be the hardest thing I've ever had to learn to do (especially since patience is not one of my strengths), but negotiating that balance of hard work and surrender has proven time and again to be the most effective way forward.
Trusting the process
The only way I've managed to even begin to negotiate this balance between hard work and surrender has been learning that I can trust the process.
With each experience of brokenness in my life, I've had the opportunity to see over and over that spring really does come. New beginnings do indeed grow out of endings. Fresh growth can blossom out of loss and hardship.
I've come to trust with absolute surety that brokenness is never the end of the story—no matter how strongly it feels that way at the time.
That trust is what fuels my ability to keep moving after loss and brokenness and keeps me putting the pieces back together one by one as I wait for a new beginning and healing to emerge from the ruins.
That absolute trust of the process is what gives me the strength and the courage to face my pain and grief and heartbreak head on, knowing that spring will come on the other side.
It's what keeps me doing the hard work of preparing for healing and new growth even as I practice patience in allowing it unfold in its own way and in its own time.
That trust of the process is the bedrock gift of kintsugi gold that supports and fuels all of the other gold I've discovered along the way. It's only through trusting the process that I'm open enough to receive the other gifts of gold as they appear.
It's only through trust of the kintsugi process of living that I even manage to seek out and nurture those gifts as they arise.
How much do you trust the kintsugi process of healing and growth in your life? Do you trust that every ending leads to a new beginning? Do you trust that growth can come out of even the hardest experiences?
How does that affect the way you respond to times of brokenness? Are you looking for and working toward the possible growth or focusing only on the broken pieces?
How have you negotiated the balance between hard work and surrender in your life? What does that balance look like for you?
As you think about times of brokenness in your past, are there any signs of "spring's" coming that are common in your healing process? What do those subtle signs of healing and new growth look like for you? Would you recognize them in future times of brokenness?
If you are currently facing a time of brokenness and endings, where are you in that season between winter and spring? How might trusting the kintsugi process make that passage easier for you?
Other posts in this series
- The subtle gifts of kintsugi gold
- Uncovering hidden strength: A gift of kintsugi gold
- A fresh perspective on challenges: A gift of kintsugi gold
- The hardest kind of compassion: A gift of kintsugi gold
- Breaking the tyranny of emotions: A gift of kintsugi gold
- The winds of freedom: A gift of kintsugi gold
- Curiosity of the heart: A gift of kintsugi gold
- The quiet courage that matters most: A gift of kintsugi gold
- Savoring life's sweetness: A gift of kintsugi gold
- Taking the right responsibility: A gift of kintsugi gold
- Reshaping the story: A gift of kintsugi gold
- Clearer vision in the mirror: A gift of kintsugi gold
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