Undesirable, unworthy, ugly, broken, flawed, imperfect – these are all words that flash through my mind on a regular basis. These are the words that my depression has taught me to think about myself. These are the words that keep me feeling broken beyond repair. These are the words that I constantly fight to keep myself from drowning in despair. These are the words that tempt me to take my own life.
You see, in our society, its common to throw out the broken. We get rid of the dilapidated, the worn, the flawed, the imperfect. So its only natural (in my crazy mind) that when my view of myself is flawed, broken and beyond repair, it’s time for me to go.
As I’ve struggled through depression, I’ve learned to embrace feeling broken. Some days its easier than others. But I’ve trained myself to stop comparing my life to others’ and accept the beauty of my brokenness – even flaunt it.
Kintsugi is a centuries-old Japanese art form that shows us how to flaunt our brokenness. It is a method of pottery repair that fuses broken pieces back together with golden seams. It doesn’t throw out the piece because it is flawed, shattered or cracked. But rather it seeks to find a way to highlight the flaws and create something even more beautiful.
What’s interesting about the practice of Kintsugi is that each artifact is completely unique. Each pottery piece has its own shape to begin with. Each piece tells its own unique story. And each piece is broken, cracked, or shattered in different ways. So when the artist puts the broken pieces back together using a special lacquer that’s dusted with gold powder, each final product is the only one of its kind.
Think about this for a second. Each of us as human beings has a unique story, a unique life to begin with. Each of us face struggles in different ways and areas of life. But each of us has the opportunity to transform our brokenness into a thing of beauty by highlighting our flaws and imperfections.
What if feeling broken is how you’re supposed to feel? What if you could embrace that brokenness and be transformed into something more beautiful than you were before?
As a Designer, its my job to find the desirable in the undesirable. Its my job to get creative, re-imagine things, transform spaces and find the beauty amidst the shabby, broken down, and dilapidated. Its my job to take what was lackluster and turn it into something spectacular.
Our gut reaction though is to throw out the old, worn down, flawed, and broken. Our gut reaction is that its better to start fresh. But what’s so key about Kintsugi is that it repairs rather than eradicates. It preserves a piece of history while infusing it with beauty. The flaws of the piece are accepted and beauty is found in the incomplete and imperfect.
Most days I feel like a shattered piece of pottery – one that’s broken beyond repair. Most days I feel like a kindergartener trying to put myself back together with glitter glue and scotch tape. Most days I feel like a failed art project walking among centuries-old masterpieces. I just never seem to measure up. There’s always someone more talented, more beautiful, more athletic, more focused, or more successful than me.
But I’ve learned to embrace feeling broken.
The truth is that we are all broken art projects. Some of us are just better at hiding the broken bits than others. But when we embrace the brokenness and accept our flaws, we allow for repairs to take place. We allow for healing to happen. We allow for our broken pieces to be woven back together with golden seams.
I believe in a Great Artist. I believe He created all things. I believe sin entered into the world and shattered all of us to pieces. I believe its hard and painful to be broken in this way. But I believe that the Great Artist wants to re-imagine and repair us into something even more beautiful than we were before. We just have to accept that we are broken and that He is the only One who can repair us.
Maybe you are feeling broken right now and you don’t understand why God is allowing it. The truth is that I would never have known God’s grace and mercy like I do now had I not walked through a horrible depression first. I would not have known forgiveness unless I had first done wrong. I would not have known healing unless I had first known brokenness. There is a purpose for your pain. If only to display the grace, forgiveness, mercy, and love of God through the golden seams He’s repairing you with.
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”