Faith and Life,  General

Blessed Are The Cracked

The Japanese have an art-form known as ‘kitsugi’. This is the belief that things each have their own value, and that even when a thing is broken, it’s value persists; and indeed, once repaired in some way, that inherent value deepens and the repair itself becomes a thing of beauty. There are many examples of kitsugi; it is seen most often in ceramics, where bowls and other items are repaired with gold – those little rivers of gold become part of the ceramic and certainly add to it’s beauty. Not surprisingly, kitsugi translates literally as ‘the golden repair’.

An example of kitsugi – the ‘golden repair’

Earlier this morning, I read a post online which declared – “blessed are the cracked; for they shall let the light in”. This really made me smile. To me, it was a reminder of several things.

Firstly, none of us are perfect human beings. Every one of us is unique and highly individualised – including any faults and foibles we may have within us. And we all – without exception – have some of those within us! It is our very imperfection which goes toward making us who and what we are. That is – human.

Secondly, those faults and foibles, our very imperfections, add something to us – rather like the gold of the kitsugi repair. Now, that is not to say that our faults are necessarily good in themselves. But what counts is what we do with those faults – how we respond to them and how we use them to become positives and to deepen our inherent value.

I’ll give you an example. A person feels powerless to do great things in the world – and so, taking their littleness, they determine to do little things (all they feel capable of) but to do them every single day and to the very best of their ability. In this way, what they perceive to be their littleness is clearly seen by those around them as a great river of gold. And because of this, they inspire others to do something similar.

Here is another example. A person experiences a profound and terrible tragedy in their life. It would be all too easy to be formed by that experience and to become angry and bitter and inward looking. But instead, this person looks outward toward the world – and puts their personal tragedy to use in supporting others who find themselves in similar situations. And in this way, they achieve great good not only for themselves, but for many others. Good has come out of evil.

If you look at a stained glass window, it may occur to you that it is not a single thing, one piece of glass. Rather, it is made up of numerous smaller pieces of glass, each of a different colour and hue and size – and (much like the kitsugi bowls) all put together to form something new and beautiful.

Human beings are, I think, rather like those windows. Our life experiences come along whether for good or for ill; they add to who we are but they do not define who we are. What does define who we are is what we do with those experiences.

We have the choice of remaining as a broken little bowl – or to repair and to become something new and beautiful.

Catholic | Retired Nurse | UK

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