The word Kintsukoroi came up the other night on a drive from Johnstown to Boulder. I can’t remember the context, but it’s a word and concept I love. It’s a Japanese word, which translates roughly into English as “golden mend”. Or more thoroughly as, “to repair with gold; the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver lacquer while understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.”
More beautiful for having been broken.
I find the art of Kintsukoroi both beautiful and profound. The finished pottery, while no doubt aesthetically beautiful, can also serve as a metaphor. Unless you’ve lived your entire life in a bubble (a curse unto itself), you have experienced moments where you’ve felt like life has beat you down and broken you into a million pieces.
In these moments, you might stand looking at the shards of your shattered dreams and wonder if you’ll ever feel whole again? Wonder if you’ll ever smile, or laugh, or wake-up excited to take on the day once more? You might feel angry, or lost, or empty – like nothing matters or will ever matter again. This feeling might last a day, a week, a month, a year, for some – maybe even years. You will use this event, moment, tragedy, trauma, crisis as a bookmark in time, forever dividing all future and past events as “before” or “after”.
But then, if you’re lucky (and all humans are inherently lucky), little by little, poco a poco, you’ll begin to gather up the scattered pieces of the life you once hoped for – and mend it back together again.
Because, despite how we sometimes feel in moments of deep despair, we all possess an inner resilience. Some call this a will to live. Some call it tenacity. Others call it faith.
We gather together our broken bits, and we mend them back together again with a golden glue of friendship, love, joy, and sincere hope. In the process, we discover we are better for the struggle. Better for being broken, and put back together again.
We know we will never be the same. We have lost a certain innocence of spirit, but in the process we have gained strength in the knowledge we can survive even this. And not just survive, but thrive.
We see, how we too, are more beautiful for having been broken.