One of the beautiful things about learning to live a kintsugi kind of life is the process of discovering the value and the blessings in the scars that we bear. As we catch glimpses of the beauty and the healing for others that our own healed wounds can bear, it brings a redemptive quality to our relationship with those scars and those broken places we all have.
In fact, I read a story recently of someone who said that he would want to carry his scars into the afterlife because he values the way those scars make him who he is. I also have come to find great value and beauty in many of the healed wounds in my own life.
But I want to offer a caution to this concept because as valuable as the idea of kintsugi life can be, it is a concept that can easily be taken too far and become an unhealthy distortion.
One thing I am NOT saying is that we need to be grateful for our wounds. We can be grateful for what we have learned as we have healed from those wounds, we can appreciate the gifts that the healing process has given us to share with others, we can be rejoice in the people we have become through the process of healing from those wounds. But the emphasis is on valuing the healing process, not on being glad that something awful happened to us.
To rejoice in pain or evil or trauma done to us would be masochistic, and that's not a healthy way to live. It's also not healthy to wallow in the woundedness or to set out to put ourselves into situations that will cause additional wounds just to have the benefit of eventual healing.
Being wounded is always a bad thing and is not something to be celebrated. What a kintsugi kind of life does is acknowledge the reality of those wounds once they exist—no hiding, no denial—and then focus on redeeming those wounds through the process of healing in such a way that our healing radiates healing to the broken world around us.
Likewise, being open and honest about our scars does not mean making our scars our identity. I struggle with depression, and when I share that with people, I find that it makes them feel safer sharing their own struggles with me. I don't hide this struggle, but I also don't make it the center of who I am. I mention it when it seems relevant, but for the most part, it stays in the background. There is so much more to who I am than my struggles with depression.
Let me say again: it is the healing and the gifts therein that are to be celebrated, not the wounds themselves!
I have a friend who endured abuse as a child that no child should ever even be able to imagine, much less experience. Am I glad that this happened to her? Hell no! I'd prosecute the people responsible to fullest extent of the law (and possibly beyond), if it were up to me.
It has taken decades for her to heal, and she continues to uncover new layers of this wound that need ongoing healing. But through that healing process, she has developed an extraordinarily beautiful way of being able to be present for others who are hurting. She can hold a safe space for anyone who needs it. She can work people through deep traumas to help them begin their own process of healing.
I am not grateful that she was wounded, but I am grateful that she has been able to use her own healing in such a profoundly beautiful way to radiate healing to people around her. Her scars, those places where her wounds have healed, are beautiful because of the way she openly uses her experiences to bring healing and comfort to others. That is what a kintsugi life is all about.
What wounds have healed in your life? How can you find beauty in what has healed? How can you share those gifts with others?
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