I am a logophile. A lover of words. A word collector. A vocabulary-expander. I’ve recently found that Pinterest has compilations of rarely-used, and often obscure and unknown words. Some are English words, some are Japanese, Mandarin, Gaelic, Latin, etc. Some have meanings that have no equivalent words in the English language. I like those the best.
One of my favorite words is Kintsukuroi. It’s a beautiful Japanese word that literally means “golden joinery.” It refers to the Japanese practice of filling cracks in broken pottery with powdered gold, silver or platinum. A broken vase wasn’t thrown out. It was repaired in this way, not with glue to hide the cracks and flaws, but highlighted with precious metals. The scars weren’t disguised. The item was made more valuable by the trauma it’d been through. The breakage and repair was a testament to the history of the item. At one point, it is reported that some ancient Japanese were accused of smashing valuable pottery deliberately, just so it could be repaired with kintsukuroi!
|“Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated… The vicissitudes of existence over time, to which all humans are susceptible, could not be clearer than in the breaks, the knocks, and the shattering to which ceramicware… is subject. This poignancy or aesthetic of existence has been known in Japan as… a compassionate sensitivity…”|
|— Christy Bartlett (Author of The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics)|
I’m sure there’s an object lesson in there somewhere… that life sometimes breaks us, tumbles us, shatters us. But that isn’t the end of things. God uses those imperfections to make us stronger and more beautiful for having been broken. That poochy skin, stretch marks and C-section scars that I dislike so much? My husband reminds me that they too are beautiful. They are a testament to the three beautiful children we now treasure. Life isn’t easy. Sometimes we experience things we’d rather forget: rejection, betrayal, abandonment, failure. So we try to avoid experiences that leave us vulnerable to these feelings as much as possible, lest the people around us see the evidence of just how imperfect, flawed, and “not good enough” we really are. Does that have to be the end of it though? Do we have to go through life chipped and bitter? Or can we let the Potter fill those scars and hurts with something even more precious, turning that brokenness into beauty?
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