We are all surrounded by brokenness in this world: broken homes, trauma, broken hearts, war, broken relationships, abuse, broken health, betrayals, broken dreams. None of us escapes the pain of being broken in one way or another in this life.
The last few years have been filled with brokenness of all kinds for me—a sense sometimes of not just being broken, but even the broken pieces being crushed into dust. One thing after another has left my world feeling like it was in ruins.
Stories of people who have been broken by life and found the healing they needed to become stronger than before have always been my favorites, the ones I turn to time and again. Those stories inspire the hope that my brokenness could be redeemed in some way. I cling to the possibility that once healed, my own broken places might become a source of healing for the world around me.
As I was doing chores around the house one day pondering a theme for a new blog, an image of a broken ceramic bowl that had been mended with gold slipped into my mind along with one of my favorite quotes: “The world breaks everyone, then some become strong at the broken places.” ~Ernest Hemingway
I was so struck by this image that I headed off to my friend Google to see what I could learn about how a bowl like this might be made. I had never heard the word kintsugi before that day, but as I read about the technique, I was fascinated. Here was a model I could use for what I want to do with my life.
This image of a broken pottery bowl made more beautiful as it is repaired with gold in the kintsugi technique gives me a way to visualize what this redemption of my own brokenness might look like some day.
It reminds me that some things are valuable enough to be worth mending, rather than throwing them away. That goes for lives even more than it does for possessions.
It reminds me that the goal is not to hide the scars or pretend that the broken places never existed. The goal is to find healing for those broken places in such a way that my healed wounds become a gift to the world around me.
I may never fully arrive at that place in this life, but it's a goal to work toward. And it's a theme for life, for faith, for writing, for art that I am excited about.
The world could use more kintsugi craftsman and fewer disposables. I hope you'll join me in finding ways to create kintsugi-style mending in your own life, relationships, and world as I work to do the same in mine.
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