A couple years ago, I taught a lesson at church where I introduced the practice of Kintsugi – the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with a gold lacquer. What’s unique about this practice is the idea of highlighting every break and fracture instead of hiding or disguising them. Fractures in the pottery are not looked down upon – they are celebrated as part of the history of the particular piece.
This last week, I was listening to a book and this practice was referenced and I was once again reminded of this powerful concept.
We live in a society where broken items are thrown away, everything seems to be disposable – including personal relationships. There is little value in fixing the television when a new one costs the same amount of money. There is no sense in replacing the cord to the toaster. Shoes are thrown out when straps break. We like things shiny and new.
But aren’t we all a little broken? Don’t we all suffer some fractures? And yet, we all attempt to hide exactly what we should be highlighting. We are products of our experiences and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. What if we viewed one another’s gold joinery as a badge of honor and not something to mock or make fun of? What if we viewed the gold in our own pottery with pride – showing a history of repairing ourselves and making ourselves whole despite the breakage?
I’m working to evaluate my own kintsugi – and trying to understand what fractures I’m trying to disguise. But even more pressing on my heart is teaching my kids the value in their kintsugi. Mistakes and failures happen to all of us and it’s okay.
They are never meant to break us entirely – they are just meant to be the gold streak in our life story.