My child was making decisions that were hurting other people. Actually, it wasn’t just his decisions, he was physically reaching out and hurting people, completely out of control. I found myself pulling away, distancing myself from my child emotionally. I didn’t want to be hurt anymore. My child had broken something inside of me. I didn’t want to respond in the same way I had always previously done. I held back. I was dismayed with myself. This was my child. My baby. How could I recoil away from him?
The Japanese have a practice of repairing broken pottery called Kintsugi. They repair the pottery with veins of gold, silver or platinum. They take something that is broken, ugly, and unusable and take the mess, the broken pieces, and make it whole. Repair isn’t quite the right word to describe what they do; they don’t just repair it—they make it more precious and more beautiful as it’s rebuilt. They embrace the differences, the imperfections, and the brokenness. This becomes part of the history of the life of the object rather than a flaw and through its imperfections, it becomes not only whole again, but more precious and beautiful.
This is not the first time someone in my life has broken a part of me. It likely won’t be the last. But because I believe in the atonement of Jesus Christ, I have faith. God gives me opportunities to make myself better. I know from experience that often involves becoming broken. He allows me to be broken down into pieces so that he can use that gold to rebuild my spirit, into a vessel that is more beautiful than it was before.
The process is never easy. It takes time and the refining of the gold to build it back up. Some cracks or breaks may take entire lifetimes to repair. But I know it is possible because I have seen it in my own life many times, and in the lives of others.
For my child and me, this will be part of our story. The brokenness isn’t the end. Because I have faith and hope God is mending that broken piece of my soul that my child broke. There will likely be more cracks, and a bit more battering before we are through, but together with God and His gold, He’ll mend our souls and make things right.
For my son, it is only the beginning of his life and as God works, molding my son into a person who respects boundaries and other people, there are going to be many cracks and veins that are yet to be made to run through his vessel. Yet this brokenness will become just another page in our history together that shines with the beauty of the refined gold running through it.