Kintsugi — The Art of Being Broken

KINTSUGI: (n.) (v.phr): to repair with gold; the art of repairing pottery with lacquer and gold or silver powder, understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.

I first heard about the art of Kintsugi from Calee Reed, a Christian singer who tours the country sharing her faith with a group called “Time Out for  Women.” Calee also shared her personal struggles trying to come to terms with divorce, learning to be a single mom, and losing her own mother. She felt isolated and alone. Calee felt she didn’t belong. She felt broken.

In her despair, Calee turned to Christ. She taught, “Don’t let your perceived deficits or the judgements of others, whether imagined or real, overshadow the truth, which is: you belong to God, and that is really all that’s important.”

Calee sings, “Broken clouds give rain, broken soil grows grain, broken bread feeds men for one more day … broken souls that need His mending, broken hearts an offering, could it be that God loves broken things?”

Reyna Aburto came to the United States from Nicaragua after enduring earthquakes, the death of her brother, troubles with an alcoholic husband and a marriage that ended in divorce. She also speaks of Kintsugi.

She said, “… A simple truth: you will get hurt. Life will throw you for a loop and give you whiplash. It will cut you, bruise you, break you. That’s just how it is.”

She continued, “Here’s another truth: you will heal. Your cuts will close up. Your bruises will fade. Even your broken heart will mend. That’s just how it is. But you won’t be the same as you were before. You’ll be even better.”

As humans we all have struggles. It is part of our existence on earth. Many  feel self-doubt, hopeless, or alone. We have emotional pain that is just there and never lets up. There is sickness, anxiety, mental illness, depression. We compare our lives to others and feel eyes of judgement and inadequacy. We feel utter despair and that our mistakes make rescue impossible. We tell ourselves we are too broken and God won’t accept us. But we are God’s and His love is unconditional. His grace is sufficient for us.

We can remember the life of Jesus Christ, who all through His ministry showed us what He does when people lay their problems before Him. When there wasn’t enough food for the multitude of 5000, Christ fed them all with loaves and fishes. Christ took the blind man and gave him sight. At the wedding feast in Cana, when the wine ran out, Jesus turned water into wine. It was the best wine served. The Savior’s life shows us how he takes something flawed and makes it more. He can fix our brokenness. His atonement is a gift that not only pays the price of our sins, but also makes us whole.

Let us remember the Master Healer who calls to us, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). As we approach Jesus Christ with our inadequacies, pains, and illnesses, may we be blessed with His grace to make us whole, and help us see the beauty God created in each of us. May we feel the love of our Savior and be strengthened to overcome.

In faith,