“There’s a form of pottery unique to Japan called ‘Kintsukuroi.’ Essentially, it means ‘to repair with gold.’ Pottery, once broken, rather than being discarded, is pieced together again using gold or silver lacquer as the medium. The result is a dish more gorgeous and precious than it was in the beginning. The broken pieces, far from being considered rubbish, become precious with the addition of gold which emphasizes all the cracks and chips in the vessel. This repaired pottery becomes more valuable than the whole piece was originally because in being broken and repaired, it has a history, traced in gold.
I hear the heartache and pain of people’s lives every day. I hear the regret over bad personal choices, the agony over the cost of the actions of others, and raging against uncontrollable and unmanageable realities of living. My office walls hold the residue of gallons of tears, waves of anger, deep belly laughs, helpless giggles, sadness beyond measure, the weight of great grief, and every feeling in between. These emotions permeate the air of that space. If I stopped there, I’m not sure even I could go back into that room because those sentiments arise from human experience, much of which is painful.
But I can’t stop there.
There is something inexplicable often happens in that room.
Yes. Light happens.
When we admit we are broken, and in need of repair, light may pour in those cracks, healing and sealing as it flows into the dark spaces, bringing unquenchable hope. ‘Light’ is a new understanding, a new awareness, new knowledge. Truth we have been blind to, or ignored, not knowing how desperately we needed it. Through a cracked and broken soul, illumination pours in, and in an instant everything is different. That which was broken becomes so much more beautiful, cracks and all.
Being broken is not a shameful thing, it is a consequence of living. Perfect people do not exist – all of us are broken in some way. Brené Brown (The Gifts of Imperfection) writes, “Choosing authenticity means cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable; exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle.”
When we embrace our “strength and struggle” we allow in light. It is those who welcome the brokenness within that become light-wrapped souls, accepting not only their own cracks and flaws, but also the imperfections in others. The reality of life is desired more than any illusion. Life is not easy. Not for anyone (no matter what it looks like from the outside) but by loving our brokenness, our floundering, flawed Self, we become more human, more real, and thus breathtaking and uniquely lovely.
Give yourself the gift of imperfection. Fly your ‘broken’ flag and those own blemishes you struggle to hide. Celebrate the strength that has carried you this far, and acknowledge the glorious gold-filled cracks in others. In a world that insists we must be perfect, rebel, and say, “No, thanks. I choose to be real.”