“Wholeness does not mean perfection. It means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life”. Parker J Palmer
During what I refer to as the most chaotic, and deeply painful season of my life to date, as I sat pondering my future and feeling a huge solid wall between myself and God, somewhere in the deepest places of my soul I felt irreparably broken and beyond redemption. I felt a deep sense of worthlessness and inadequacy with more questions than answer. I had been written off, and I wrote myself off as well.
Things do fall apart, you lose your grip, and you practically watch your life spiral out of control. The more you attempt to gather items and create a semblance of order, you are stared back by the futility of your efforts. There is a deep sense of loss, one’s heart breaks into a million pieces, your spirit is crushed, and your soul is restless as your life crumbles in front of your eyes. Bitterness, anger, regret to replace the joy, peace and love you once enjoyed in your life.
In a world where it is easy to overlook one’s positive traits but sharply focus on one’s flaws, you instinctively want to hide your brokenness because our society tosses away broken or damaged objects. Your confidence plunges to unprecedented levels until it dissipates completely to be replaced by self – doubt, inadequacy, deep sense of bitterness and rawness.
The source of brokenness
As a people, different circumstances break us, and I am saying tongue in cheek – some of them are self-inflicted. It could be broken promises, unfulfilled dreams, lies, betrayal, rejection etc. Regardless of the source of one’s brokenness, there is Love and Grace that wants to redeem us, restore our soul and lead us beside quiet waters and quieten the noise around you. That is God!
Kintsugi (Golden Repair/Golden Joinery)
At the height of my brokenness, as I listlessly searched the internet, I came across an ancient Japanese custom called Kintsugi, which greatly fascinated me. Kintsugi means Golden repair. Later on in life, I would draw parallels between the Kintsugi philosophy and how God seeks to heal and restore us for His glory.
An ancient Japanese man had broken a treasured pottery set that he owned. In an effort to restore his precious pottery objects, the man discovered the Kintsugi technique. In Kintsugi, the crafter meticulously works in the background using precious metals, especially gold to bring together the broken pieces of pottery. Gold is a precious metal that is known for its brilliant qualities of being solid yet being able to be pressed into shape without breaking or cracking.
Kintsugi philosophy does not seek to hide the brokenness of the pottery. Instead, it seeks to embrace the brokenness/flaws and enhance the scars. The breakage and repair are part of the history of the item, and they are events in the life of that pottery. The end product is a unique piece of pottery with the gold, highlighting the filled cracks and enhancing the refined beauty of the previously damaged piece of pottery. No repaired/restored piece of pottery is similar to the next one because of the randomness and chaotic nature of the breaking process. The broken pottery has a history and a new beautiful story.
Image from: https://images.app.goo.gl/nVGEjjUhd6upzCmt6
Key Lessons from the Kintsugi Philosophy
- Precious objects will at some point fall and break
- Breakage does not translate to uselessness
- Nothing is ever too shattered for repair
- With meticulous care and love, the breakage can become valuable
- We don’t hide broken objects, and we display them with pride to reflect the repair and healing
- Brokenness brings new beauty, uniqueness, strength and inspiration.
- Crafter works meticulously behind the scene to create a unique object with beauty and finesse beyond our wildest imagination. God’s Love and Grace restores our soul.
Just like the original Japanese pottery owner went to great heights to find a sustainable way to restore broken pottery object to its glory; as God’s treasured people, God wants to do the same for us.
God is our ever-present Help, our Redeemer who wants to rescue us from the raging fires, harsh judgements of this world and turbulent waters. God wants to restore our soul and lead us beside quiet waters. We need to humble ourselves before God, surrender and acknowledge the futility of our efforts and allow God to shape us according to His will for our lives. Our scars are random and unique, and therefore the restoration process and end – product will be unique – God has the master plan.
When you allow God to restore you, your brokenness brings new beauty, strength and inspiration. God will comfort you, restore your mind and give you the confidence to face life and claim your destiny; hence Tony Evans believes that “Brokenness is often the road to breakthrough.”
You can become whole, complete and beautiful beyond the brokenness