Kintsugi is the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold. It was built on the idea that in embracing the flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art. Every break is unique and instead of repairing an item like new, the 400 year old technique actually highlights the “scars” as a part of the design.
“Scars” tell a story. When I was six years old, I fell off my bike and scraped my elbow. It had healed about 75% of the way before I fell again in front of the movie theater because I was walking on the ridge of the sidewalk and lost my balance. My father gingerly picked me up off the cement, cleaned my wound, and told me that it would be ok. My elbow wound completely opened. After several weeks, my elbow healed leaving a large thick scar. This scar doesn't serve as a reminder for when I fell of my bike, but rather how my father so lovingly took care of me that day. This particular “scar”, I am quite fond of.
As a college Sophomore, I went to a track meet and was scheduled to compete in Triple Jump. I hated Triple Jump. I reluctantly agreed to run the event. I ended up landing in a metal drainage gate, within the sand pit, and tore my knee severely. I had three knee surgeries and the damage was irreparable. At the time, I felt track was all I had. It paid for college. My friends respected me for my talent, and I felt it was the only way to make my parents proud. For some reason I valued being a track athlete more then being a child of God. My several knee scars serve as a reminder that nothing should be more important than God and my identity should be rooted in Him… not the sport I so dearly love. Scars tell stories.
Kintsugi, then, can serve as a metaphor for the healing that occurs when we are broken, hurt, abused, abandoned or rejected. Jesus seeks to show each of us where exactly He was in each of those painful moments. Within the process of repairing us and healing our pain, Jesus pours healing grace into our scars, creating something more unique, beautiful and resilient.
Every day, we have an opportunity to encounter hurt, pain, rejection and sin. We are either the ones who cause the cracking in someone else or we are the ones who have been cracked. Often times, we may turn to other methods of healing our brokenness. For example, we may try to control and manipulate others so we will not get hurt. We may even turn to drugs, alcohol or lust to distract us from the pain. We may even abandon those who have hurt us and we build walls around our hearts to prevent us from encountering such pain again.
Jesus seeks to not only heal our pain, but rather, He seeks to use those moments of pain, sin, brokenness and rejection to restore us and make us stronger. He pours healing grace into our emotional, mental and physical scars. Jesus seeks to heal our pain through the Sacraments and Eucharistic Adoration. Receiving the Blessed Sacrament, adoring our Lord in Adoration and going to Confession are just three examples of how Jesus can come into our brokenness and heal the hurt and damage caused by sin. He fills us with the grace needed to be healed of past wounds, and in the process, makes us more unique and resilient.
The world around us will not change. We are still open to hurt, pain, rejection and sin. The questions are: How do we participate with Jesus to heal the brokenness and become stronger? What are the cracks in your heart that need Jesus’ healing grace? What are your scars?