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“The world breaks everyone, then some become strong at the broken places.”

-Ernest Hemingway

 

Sometimes life doesn’t go quite as we plan it. Perhaps you have experienced this in the past. Maybe you are experiencing it right now. For example, you might have had high hopes for a job, but it didn’t work out and you got laid off. Maybe you fell in love and got married, but now you’re struggling, or going through a divorce.

I was listening to a friend who was struggling in his marriage. He had such high hopes at the beginning of the relationship, but now he wasn’t happy, and he didn’t know if it was going to get any better. I felt sad for him, because he was experiencing a great deal of pain.

It got me thinking about the pain and struggle we all experience at some point in our lives. Sometimes it seems so frustrating and pointless. “Why is this happening to me?” I wonder. “What’s the point of all this?” I ask God.

Maybe it’s just optimism or naiveté, but I believe our pain and struggle can be redeemed. Even in our most desperate times, I think good can come from the pain. Maybe we learn something from our struggle. Perhaps our pain ignites a passion to serve the world in a unique way. Maybe our story can be used to inspire others who think they are alone in their suffering.

There is a Japanese art form called Kintsugi that I think is a beautiful metaphor for this redemptive process. Kintsugi is the process of fixing broken pottery with a lacquer resin sprinkled with powdered gold. The story goes that in the 15th century, the Shogun of Japan sent a damaged Chinese tea bowl to China to be repaired. When it was returned with ugly metal staples, Japanese craftsmen came up with a more aesthetic means of repair. Hence, Kintsugi. Because of the gold linings, the new pottery becomes even more valuable than the old unbroken pottery.

I wonder if the same is true for us. We all experience brokenness, sometimes in very painful ways. But I believe there is also hope for repair, healing, and redemption. If you are a person of faith, perhaps you view God as an integral part of this process. And when the process is complete, the new version of yourself may be even more valuable than the old.

Discussion: What is one area of your life that you are experiencing brokenness, that you need Kintsugi?