Kintsugi (金継ぎ) is a Japanese word for repairing broken pottery with a special lacquer mixed with gold. The technique recognizes the history of the object, and visibly incorporates the repair into the piece. Rather than trying to disguise what could be considered flaws, attention is brought to them. The item that was broken, and glued back together, is considered stronger and more beautiful than it was originally.
In the beginning of 2015 my, then seven-year-old, grandson brought home a gold-painted, clay star he made at school. It was dropped about five minutes after he walked into the house. I glued it back together and told him about how things are often more interesting once they’re repaired; that they have a bigger story around them. Ethan understood that.
Sometimes we’re more beautiful because we’ve been broken—because we’ve been hurt, treated unfairly, dismissed or minimized. We learn during those rough times. We become more real. We crack and we put ourselves back together. The scars tell part of the story of our lives.
Sometimes in my brokenness I can’t—or refuse to—see the beauty in myself. I see only the bits and pieces strewn on the floor of my pain.
When you’re “broken” you can come back stronger, but gluing yourself together doesn’t happen by simply wishing it into reality.
•You must embrace your brokenness—your damaged self.
•You must surround yourselves with people who lift you up.
•You must be willing to do the repair work.
•You must believe in your value.
When brokenness shows up on your doorstep—and for most of us it will at some time—you need to move through it, not jump over it or run around it.
Physical scars are often pretty obvious, but many of us bear emotional scars that we’ve never acknowledged. Sometimes we hide them away deep in our subconscious mind, unwilling to let them be exposed to the light of day; afraid to dance with them and give them voice. We think that if we just ignore them—keep them buried in a locked memory bank— they will mend themselves. But, they will not. Those hurts need to be addressed. They need to be recognized. Those breaks need to be repaired—glued back together properly and made more beautiful by honoring them.
Recently, I had an experience with a person who had to face something that was unacknowledged for a very long time. He was struggling with an issue, unaware of what was making it so painful and powerful. Then, he had a flashback. This current-day situation reminded him of something that happened many decades ago.
Something painful that he had stuffed far away.
Something that had caused a break in his young self.
Something that was never acknowledged and never healed.
Something that, in spite of all that ignoring, continued to haunt him.
The shoving back and never acknowledging doesn’t make the break go away. It’s still there, insidiously chipping away.
How often do we do that—push down, shove away, ignore, or minimize our unrepaired brokenness until it threatens to take us down?
Falling down and then getting back up teaches us something. There are many lessons cultivated in the pain of hurt. How we honor them, grow through them, become better because of them is what matters.
Some of us have a lot more physical scars than others.
Some of us have a lot more emotional scars than others.
Some of us claim to have never been broken or in need of repair.
Some of us live in our brokenness.
Scars are part of life. We, like a piece of pottery, can be transformed. We can be made more beautiful. We just have to believe it.
©2016 peace full home™/intentional living
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