The Japanese have an ancient craft known as kintsugi. It can be best understood this way: If a piece of valuable china is dropped and breaks, instead of throwing it away or repairing it perfectly, the kintsugi craftspeople use lacquer containing gold to piece it back together.
The scars and cracks of the china are kept, celebrated, and honoured with golden seams. The restored bowl or vase is considered from that point forward more beautiful than the original because of its healed brokenness.
The scars we carry in our lives whether visible or invisible contain the possibility of becoming our own story of healed brokenness with beauty not previously witnessed.
When I look at my legs with their many scars, I have a mixed bag of thoughts and feelings running through me. I remember clearly those days prior to the accident when I ran races, climbed hills, walked without a limp and enjoyed perfect health.
Now I have a choice to make.
Will I continue to mourn the loss of my once strong athletic legs or will I choose to find a new beauty in the scars now a permanent part of my new reality?
Think about your life.
How would you describe your brokenness?
- A broken relationship?
- A lost loved one?
- A mistake causing irreparable damage?
- A debilitating illness or physical condition leaving you weak and a shadow of your former self?
- A broken dream you’re struggling to let go of?
- A broken marriage?
- A broken innocence stained by the sins of youth?
The pathway forward to healed brokenness will be traveled in kintsugi’s workshop.
Renewed hope will come as you pick up the pieces of your life (body, mind, heart, relationships) – mix it with the glue and gold of a new perspective, fresh courage, renewed purpose, God’s strength, help from a few friends, and make a daily choice to let go of what’s gone so you can hold onto what’s ahead.
Sometimes the hardest part isn’t letting
go but rather learning to start over. (Nicole Sobon)
What I’m learning as I embrace my own healed brokenness
I am learning to take my pain, brokenness, limitations and offer them up every day as a gift to the world. I can fixate on my scars, be embarrassed and ashamed of them, or let my new reality be a testimony to the resilience of the human spirit to overcome adversity and grow stronger and more beautiful because of brokenness.
We are all broken and wounded in this world.
Some choose to grow strong at the broken places.
Harold J. Duarte-Bernhardt
When I look at my scars and see the jagged edges, uneven dips, and imperfections – I believe I’m stronger because of what they represent.
Healed brokenness appears for me in a few different ways:
- Empathy for those who suffer
- Appreciation for life
- Greater patience during times of waiting
- Higher value placed on inner beauty
- Lower value placed on external perfection and ability
- Heightened appreciation for the gifts and abilities I still have
Next time you see someone walk with a limp, hear the story of a cancer survivor, talk to a widow moving on without her husband, listen to the struggle of someone living with mental illness, drive by a homeless man on the street corner, or see the pain in the eyes of a suburban mother who lost her daughter to drugs – look deeper for signs of healed brokenness. They may be there. If they aren’t, say a prayer and offer hope that life doesn’t need to end when you’re broken.
Hope for healed brokenness lies in the belief that says – we can turn our scars into beauty marks.
I didn’t say it was easy, but I do believe in the ability of the human spirit in cooperation with God’s divine power that the broken pieces of our lives can be healed. The healing doesn’t usually happen in an instant but over time and with the right kind of help, life can go on and meaning can be found regardless of how deep the wound.
What’s your story of brokenness?
Where are you on your journey of healed brokenness?
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