Kintsugi (Japanese: golden joinery) or Kintsukuroi (Japanese: golden repair) is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer resin dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum a method similar to the maki-e technique. As a philosophy it speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. (Wikipedia)
… the very failures and radical insufficiency of our lives are what lead us into large life and love. … It is our mistakes that lead us to God. We come to divine union not by doing it right but by doing it wrong, as we all most surely do.
Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: the Search for Our True Self, Kindle loc. 2534.
A kintsugi pot usually looks like this:
The first time I heard of kintsugi was at Barefoot Toward the Light. Whatever I write today about kintsugi, therefore, is not original, but building onto thoughts I have already come across.
Christine’s new endeavor, a new dance class based on “emotionally and spiritually therapeutic movement art for all bodies”, drove me this morning to search Tumblr for additional pictures of kintsugi. When I came upon the one opening this post, I suddenly realized that this is the way everyone of us looks, whether we know it or not.
Each one of us has been wounded, has felt broken, has experienced self-hatred for dumb mistakes and dark sins, and possibly even dislikes one’s body because it does not look the way the media says it should look.
Until now, when I tried to imagine how Godde sees the people with whom I have problems and wondered how Godde sees us, I used to expect that each of us stands in the light, light ourselves, transfigured, resurrected like the One who came to show us the way. We are Her temple and unique work of art.
But the kintsugi image brings a more realistic image, conjuring the journey of our lifetime, our vulnerability, brokenness, the paths we lost, the wrong turns we took. Those golden strings are the marks of our humanity. St Ignatius says that we are ‘beloved sinners.’ And lovable, we are.
Possibly Godde’s love is the gold keeping me together… This love deep within, longing to love me and to be loved back.
I don’t think I will ever look at myself in a mirror, or at others in daily life, without remembering the young beautiful woman on the picture above. How different our world would be if we could all see one another as a kintsugi being…
May each one of us see our beauty in our brokenness…
Art: based on a a print by Hashiguchi Goyo (Wikipedia), found here.