Have you ever dropped a mug and it broke? Either the handle snapped off it or broke in half and into pieces? Usually you would do one of two things, pick up the pieces and through them away. Or pick up the pieces and glue them back together. Of the latter of the two, once the glue dried and the pieces are once more a whole mug, the mug takes on a new look. The cracks wrap around the mug and it appears unattractive. The beauty it once held has changed. The way we look at it has also changed.
Now we let the mug sit in the cupboard, it becomes unused or rarely used in side home projects. Holding screws or nails in the garage, dye for Easter Eggs, and other such things.
What about ourselves? Have we ever been dropped? Perhaps broken? In A Farewell to Arms Ernest Hemingway wrote:
“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places”
Think for a moment. Back to a time where you felt broken, even when you were broken. Shattered even. Remember how you felt like you’d never be the same? How you just wanted things to go back to how they were before? Our pieces laying on the floor and we had no idea how they’d ever be put back together?
The world breaks everyone. We all break at some point. It’s how we pick up the pieces and put them back together.
Kintsugi is a nearly 500 year old Japanese practice of repairing broken dishes or pottery back together with lacquer mixed with gold. Kintsugi actually means “golden joinery”.
The practice of this art is focused on the hidden beauty and power of life. Wth three parts:
• Making the impossible possible
• Preparing the medium and adhesive
• Re-experiencing each broken piece
Let’s apply these parts to ourselves. I know, we all know what it’s like to feel broken. The thing to remember is that it’s not impossible to put ourselves back together. Hemingway said that after a person is broke they are strong in those broken pieces. So does our Lord.
If Jesus was ever broken, it was on the cross. How often does God and Jesus tell us to come to the cross? Why else would we turn to the cross.
In the Japanese concept of wabi sabi, which goes along with the idea of Kintsugi, looks at the acceptance of imperfection. Beauty that is imperfect. There’s not a person on this earth that is perfect. If anyone says different, they’re lying.
Can you think of anyone who looks at all of our imperfections and sees nothing but beauty? Do I even really need to say it?
Take a moment and look at it this way:
We fall, we break, we pick up the pieces of ourselves and come to the cross. Perhaps it’s the faith in the healing of the cross that is the lacquer that brings our pieces back together. Of course, just like the mug, pieces here and there will be missing. But the lacquer (cross) fills these voids.
You might be asking “where’s the gold in all this?” I bet you already know the answer.
If the cross is the lacquer, than Jesus must be our gold. The love Jesus has for our imperfection is what fills us with gold. We prepare ourselves for Jesus by coming with all of our brokenness and imperfections to him and laying it all at the foot of the cross. It’s also in prayer, we fall to our knees in the chapel and let it all out. Lift up all of our pain. Say “Jesus, I am broken and I need you.”
The hardest part of it all is re-experiencing each of our broke pieces. It hurts like a steak knife to the heart. We have to, we need to look at all of our pain and know what it is. See the pieces that broke so we know how to heal and put it back to its rightful place.
You may be broken, but you have so much beauty to you.
Be filled with gold.
Be Beautifully imperfect.
Born with a genetic disorder, Niall knows what it is like to be knocked down. He has been there several times and he has been able to get back up because of faith and a small number of friends. Seeing others getting knocked down, Niall offers a hand whether he has just fallen or is on the way back up himself. Volunteering as a summer camp counselor for children, teens, and young adults with the same disorder, Niall hopes to inspire them to overcome life’s road blocks. For Niall, writing for Project Wednesday is an opportunity to reach more people, and to help more.