As you glance around my home, you will see various trinkets and furniture collected through the years scattered about. If you look closely, you may catch the scars some of them bear. These imperfections tell stories. Despite my frustrations at the time of injury, the stories behind them speak of accidents in the midst of routine life.
Heads popping off my willow tree figures as a child, with abandon, lifts up a blanket to cover their body in motion; knocking the figure off the shelf nearby.
Our coffee table, bought nineteen years ago so that guests had somewhere to place food for my son’s dedication party held in our cramped little house, is worn. Its hinges for the nifty cover (it holds things!) have been replaced several times. My son has made me promise that the table, despite its weak hinge bearing function, cannot ever leave our home.
Last year, I learned about a fascinating process of creating art called Kintsugi. This Japanese art form involves repairing broken pottery by bonding the pieces with gold or silver lacquer. The philosophy behind restoring the vessels is that the piece is actually more beautiful for having been broken.
The lacquer serves two purposes: First: it fills in the cracks and holds the pieces together Second: it adds an element of beauty that did not exist previously.
Is it no wonder that scripture uses the imagery of “broken vessels” or “jars of clay” to describe humanity? Our flesh and soul bare witness to weakness.
Yet, God longs to see us restored vessels.
When we refuse to acknowledge our brokenness, we deny God the opportunity to fill in our “cracks.”
“My strength is made perfect in your weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:9
Unlike, my trinkets, we are made more beautiful and more useful as God’s character fills in our cracks.
And our scars tell a remarkable story.
(This post is written for the Five Minute Friday Community. Come join us! http://katemotaung.com/five-minute-friday/)
I learned about kintsugi a year or so ago. I love what it symbolizes. So beautiful! I’m in the 43 spot this week.
Isn’t it a great symbol? I love the fact that it means that the vessel is still valued even though it’s scarred.
Joining you from the 53rd spot at Kate’s this week. I had to laugh about the Willow Tree figures. I had one beheaded not to long ago by some boys playing ball in the house.
Thank you for sharing such beautiful words this week.
A few of mine have been injured-one is currently missing an arm. But I guess they stand as symbolic of our imperfections. Thanks for stopping by.
Jeanne Takenaka says
Stephanie, I first heard about the art of kintsugi a few years ago. I continue to marvel at its real life applications. I love that God can bring such amazing beauty from brokenness. And reading your words reminded me of all the indentations on our kitchen table, results of a boy learning how to write letters many years ago. 🙂
Christina Hubbard says
Kintsugi sounds amazing! I’m going to apply that to my whole life! Thank you:) Beautifully said and visualized for all of us. In the #75 spot. Love your heart!
It’s such a radical concept given that we live in a disposable and materialistic culture. I love the symbolism! Thanks for the kind words.
Andrew Budek-Schmeisser says
Stephanie, this is a lovely essay. As I write this, there is, on the shelf behind me, a large decorative plate. It has a history.
My wife and I were in A Pier One store when there was a sudden crash, and a wail from a child who knew he’d REALLY screwed up. He’d knocked over a large decorative plate, and it was in fragments. His parents were aghast.
On the spur of the moment, my wife stepped in and told the manager that we wanted the plate, and we’d pay full price. The manager thought she was nuts, but agreed, and when we got home she dropped the rattling box in my arms and said, “Fix this.”
So I did. It’ll never be perfect, except in our eyes.
#1 at FMF this week.
Andrew, Wow! Your plate testifies to grace! What you did, gave those people a taste of God’s grace and mercy toward us. Thanks for stopping by.
Jeannie Prinsen says
This is such a perfect analogy of how weakness can in fact be so strong and so beautiful.