Translated to “golden joinery,” Kintsugi (or Kintsukuroi, which means “golden repair”) is the centuries-old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with a special lacquer dusted with powdered gold, silver, or platinum.
I love this practice of repairing the broken in a consumer culture where things are discarded and replaced so readily. Have we lost the art of repairing more than just objects?
The heart is such a fragile organ, both in its physical form and its spiritual form, and how the effects of life experiences can leave deep scars, open wounds, and brokenness that we can carry our whole lives. But like the Japanese concept of not wasting anything, but instead collecting all the pieces of a broken object and putting them back together, God does this with our wounded and broken hearts.
After attending the Bloom conference last year where I was introduced to the Kintsugi method of repair, I was determined that I wanted God to give me a brand new heart so the worn-out wounded and broken thing in my chest would be gone and replaced with a new improved model. Yes God could repair my heart, and has been doing his repairs for some years now. But I was exhausted by the reminders of the past, the hurt, the cruel words and cruel behaviours that had left my heart riddled with wounds and brokenness. Just when I had one wound heal over another was there, or a wound would be laid bare again. 2 days after the conference I said all this to my psychologist who asked me one question. “Where is your gold?”
So we listed the things I had come through stronger than ever, the things that I had overcome and some things I was actually good at doing. Do you know how hard it is to list the things you are more than capable of doing and doing them well without feeling like you lack humility. Worst still, the whole brass section of the band is playing too. But here I faced some truth. I no longer desired to have that brand new heart. Instead a vision of this image of a heart came to mind. Sure the wounds are there, but healed, some may still need healing. And the breaks are there, but they are put back together and painted in brilliant gold by my God whose love is so fierce for me He would not leave me wounded and in pieces.
The Japanese techniques of Kintsugi sees the repairs of the broken, painted in gold more valuable, more precious than the original unbroken item.
Where is your Gold?