Kintsugi Heart

“Kintsugi is a Japanese method for repairing broken ceramics with a special lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum.

Nothing is ever truly broken – that’s the philosophy behind the ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi, which repairs pottery by using beautiful seams of gold. This 500-year-old technique not only restores functionality to broken pots, but is a useful lesson for life.” [BBC, 2016]

A friend of mine introduced Kintsugi to me several years ago. My daughter gave me the most beautiful Kintsugi necklace with an emerald stone and gold filling. I was reminded of the word Kintsugi when a trauma specialist shared a practice she uses with students to remind them of resilience and post-traumatic growth. How do we take what life has offered and create beauty from the ashes?

I revisited a website on Kintsugi and found this beautiful heart that seemed to paint the picture of how our heart (soul) may feel. I loved the honesty of the colors, the broken spaces that were filled with gold, and the spiral in the center. I thought of the life journey of the tree, and, how we can know how old the tree is by counting the rings. How old is your heart? Tell me about the years of your soul’s journey.

I keep this picture on my desk to remind me of the following:

A heart that has been broken through any means – love, loss, death, abuse, war, natural disaster, etc. – can be healed, and the person becomes stronger, more valuable, and more beautiful for the experience. This is why being broken is so beautiful: it means we have cracks for love and light to shine through, space for God to borough and bloom, space to move from who we are to who we will become.” (Riley, 2016)

Our freedom comes from knowing that we can only work on our heart, our brokenness. We come together in community and with family to listen, pray, and support, but the work belongs to us. Our work in our spiritual journey with the one who knows us.

Psalm 139 1-6

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

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