Kintsugi Japanese art
Last week in our morning staff devotions, our SACE Coordinator Connie Ferraro spoke about the Japanese art form of “Kintsugi”. I had learned about this art some time ago and found Connie’s message about it really thought-provoking. Connie has allowed me to share her devotion.
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold. The art is built on the idea that in embracing flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art. The breaks are seen as unique pieces of the object’s history and add to the beauty of the object. A break is something to remember, something of value and a way to make the piece more beautiful, rather than something to disguise. Gold is used to repair the object, not invisible superglue, because mistakes don’t have to be hidden and shouldn’t be considered ugly. This is in contrast to most Western societies, which often strive for and idolise perfection, and consider flaws to be shameful.
There is a very obvious metaphor here that can be applied in our lives. Often people think that the hardships they go through ruin them and that they will be broken for the rest of their lives. However, for some people they won’t be able to realise their full potential until they have gone through the tough times. Sometimes we need to break and be put back together and made into something that is even more special and valued because of the hardship we have been through. Most people have many scars – both physical and emotional. Scars are due to participation in this crazy thing we call life. We can choose to view scars as a weakness – physical scars can be a visual reminder of the times our bodies were weak and broken. Or, we can choose to view scars as evidence of healing, as evidence of being strong enough to beat the things that tried to hurt us. Something that once represented a weakness, has now actually become a symbol of strength.
God is the master of kintsugi. He knows our brokenness, yet He doesn’t reject us or discard us. When we might see a heap of broken pieces, He sees potential and the possibility of creating something beautiful and new. God doesn’t want us to hide our brokenness. He wants us to heal in such a way that, while the cracks and scars are still visible, they are not ugly or shameful, they are part of the beauty. God takes our broken pieces and puts them back together in a way that displays His glory. And so it is through our hardships and our suffering when we think we are at our weakest, that God’s love for us is the gold that puts the pieces back together, making us stronger and more valuable than ever. Give God your weakness and he will give you strength. Psalm 46, verse 1 says “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Jayne Fulton | Head of Senior School