//kintsukuroi

pottery

As I sat in a coffee shop the day before yesterday and watched people walk in and sit down, alone or in groups of two or three, I knew I was forming subconscious opinions of them. She thinks she’s too good for anyone else. He’s lonely. She’s unhappy. They might have been accurate observations, they might not have been, but as I sat there I realized that everyone who walked in was also forming a subconscious opinion of me. I wondered what they thought. I had a laptop and a stack of books; maybe they thought I was a college student. Maybe they saw the pink hair and flowered headphones and thought I was part of some weird little clique somewhere. Maybe they wanted to talk to me, but didn’t. Unspoken connections were made, thoughts were had, and lives moved on. I spoke to one girl before she left, telling her she looked pretty, and she returned the compliment with a bright smile and a compliment for my flowered snapback and headphones. As she walked out, I wondered more. What does she go through? What battles is she fighting? Who has broken her heart? What makes her happy?

I’m so easy to give grace to others, to forgive them for their flaws and to understand that they are not their mistakes. I tell people these things on a daily basis – I tell them what I know, that God has already forgiven them, that they need to move on, that I’m here for them.

When I tell people I don’t care what they’ve done, I truly mean it. I love them no matter what they’ve done. I want to love them in spite of it. I want to help them. I have love to give.

And yet, I don’t tell myself these things. I look at the horrible things I’ve done – things that disgust and shame me, things I wish so much I could take back, and I dwell on them. I roll around in the mud of past sins instead of allowing God to wash me clean. I am blinded, refusing to see myself as another human being, as another soul, so important in God’s eyes. Someone said that it’s harder to forgive those we know the best, and who do we know better than ourselves? We know every thought, every action we’ve taken that we wish we could take back. Someone might look us in the eyes and tell us how loved we are, but in our minds, we say You don’t know. You don’t know what I’ve done, and if you knew, you couldn’t understand, you couldn’t forgive me.

Just a few days ago, I was telling a very special girl I know that we need to forgive ourselves the same way we urge others to forgive, and it struck a chord I me, because I was being a hypocrite. I was encouraging her to do something I had failed to do, so many times. What right did I have, to tell her these things? To give her great advice that I can’t seem to follow?

I’m good at hiding how I truly feel. I laugh deeply and cry at the drop of a hat (seriously, I cried yesterday because a picture of castle ruins was so beautiful. I kid you not) but when it comes to how I feel about things, when it comes to sharing my burdens or concerns, I fall silent. I cover it up and say I’m fine. I say what people want to hear. I don’t do it for myself – I do it for others, because they don’t need to carry the weight of my mistakes as well as their own. And yet I wouldn’t have to carry my burdens at all if I would hand them over to God. If I would just do what He asks.

It doesn’t matter how many beautiful things I draw or how many novels I write – God doesn’t want those as much as He wants my flaws, my burdens and brokenness. There is a Japanese technique for fixing broken pottery called kintsugi or kintsukuroi. When something cracks, they mend it with gold. That’s what God does to us. He takes our imperfections and not only mends them – He turns them into something beautiful. We’re all broken, but not until we give our shattered pieces to God can He put us back together.

We give Him brokenness, and He gives us gold. And when we crack again, He keeps on giving. I need this reminder as much as anyone else – sometimes, I feel, maybe even more. He makes all things new. We just need to let Him.

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16 thoughts on “//kintsukuroi

  1. You know, you’re good at hiding, I’m sure, but you’re also great at letting people see more of you because you’re not afraid to admit what you’ve done or what you need to do better at. Or maybe you are afraid but do it anyway. Either way, that’s courage.

    And admitting your faults is a huge piece of minimizing them. I’m proud of you for who you are and who you’re becoming. You’re an incredible woman with more guts, quirk, and courage than most + you strive to do the right thing and trust in God. You’re inspiring and frabjous. <3 You're golden.

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  2. I think that it’s hard to be kind to yourself because that little voice in the back of your head that says “You wouldn’t like me if you knew,” or “You wouldn’t forgive me if you knew,” or “You wouldn’t /love me/ if you knew” is kinda right. Kinda. O_o And the voice that sits at the back of my mind telling me the same things, is kinda right too.

    However, I have recently discovered a war-hammer to hit that thing with and silence it for a bit.

    Picture it like a spiritual game of whack-a-mole only with a bigger and deadlier hammer, if you will.

    Let me set the stage.

    Before time started, before Yahweh breathed out stars, before the universe danced into being, the Trinity had a conversation. And it was about me. It was about all of the sins I would commit. It was about all the mistakes I would make. It was about all of my poor decisions, errors, falls and failures. My whole life stretched out from the moment I opened my eyes with a wail to the moment that I closed them and departed this mortal coil. The Triune God saw it all. He saw every person I would hurt, every neighbor I would disappoint, every family member I would let down. All the internal turmoil He saw, He saw every doubt, every dark thought, every bad dream, every lustful action, everything laid open like the pages of a book.

    And He chose me anyway. Don’t rush past that thought. Don’t glide past with nodding head and quick stepping heart.

    Because this is the mystery for the ages. This is the crux of life itself. The Trinity who would create me, saw my likeness to Himself and He loved me. Even with all the damage I would do to myself and others, He loved me.

    He loved me. And not just the pat-on-the-head kinda love. Or the smile from on high kinda love. Or the passing glance kinda love. No, this kinda love is the love the created time and space. This is the kind of love that decided He would fit into the womb of a teen age girl who wasn’t married. He would trade all of His unlimited power, to become my Savior. This is the love that took on bruises and learning to walk and teething and the indignities of diapers and tired muscles and having a bed time decided by someone else. And of quarreling followers and people who didn’t understand Him, some deliberately and others because they were not seeing clearly.

    This love, this love that knew me down to the very core of myself, set the value of that broken flawed self. This is the value that He ascribed to me.

    His perfect life.

    Thirty three years of absolute perfection in the middle of this mess of a world. And then, oh, and then if that wasn’t enough, He took infinity and wrapped it around that price, and He died my death before a righteous God, and He swallowed up all that I would ever owe for that I would ever do.

    And then, the coupe-de-grace to my poor sniveling self-esteem; He rose from the dead on the third day, that I might be with Him always.

    So, the next time that ‘you wouldn’t love me if you knew’ pops up, HIT IN THE HEAD UNTIL IT DIES WITH THAT TRUTH. The King of Glory DOES KNOW and He loves you.

    And also me.

    And also you. And you. And you. And you. And you. And you x infinity.

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  3. This was really relevant to me right now, so thanks for sharing this. I tend to hide a lot of things from people, and I try to hide them from God too. I guess it’s time to stop doing that. :D

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  4. This is a deep, cleansing breath for my soul, Mirri–thank you. <3 That kintsukuroi image was a beautiful analogy of what God does with our cracks and flaws.

    It's amazing that you'd post this now, because I was just thinking along these lines last week. I was realizing that some of the things I've thought or said about myself lately have not been kind. And what would it look like if I said those things against someone else? Such treatment would be cruel. Is it not just as cruel to point those words "like an arrow to my heart?" (Wonderful song, btw. I'll be giving it a second and third and who knows how many listens.)

    I mean, how dare I slander a beautiful, holy, beloved creation of God Almighty? How dare I contradict Him by calling this creature anything less than who says she is? He says she's amazing. Worth it. Valued. Recklessly, passionately loved. Made perfect in Him. Any words to the contrary is, quite simply, a lie.

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  5. this post made me cry. you said so many things i can relate to, that i needed to hear but never had, and that i needed to be reminded of. thank you; for whatever inspired you to write this, it truly made an impact. <3

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  6. […] Last but not least, the painful (super painful) personal, spiritual growth I’ve done this year. It’s been a year where I’ve been broken into pieces, and putting those pieces back together has hurt. Re-setting fractured bones, learning to walk again. But those cracks are slowly, surely being mended with gold, and I’m becoming kintsukuroi. […]

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