Once upon a vacation, I had walked into a random museum to take advantage of the free air-conditioning after a long morning of walking along unfamiliar alleys under the hot sun. And while I’m not really one to appreciate art for more than 2 hours, the paintings on display were quite magnificent, in a slightly detached way. They were almost too perfect for my liking. It was only after I fell down a rabbit hole on Wikipedia recently that I stumbled upon the term kintsugi, and that changed my entire perspective on the influence of art on our lives.
With each success we share with the world there are ten failures that kept us late at night alone, wondering how things could have gone so wrong.
For the uninitiated, kintsugi is a Japanese art form that essentially mends broken pottery by using gold, silver or platinum to put the pieces back together, bringing together a new kind of gorgeous creation. It is an art form that embraces the damage held by the pieces, rather than trying to erase their disfigurements. They’re rather aesthetically pleasing in a unique way, and even as I stare at more photos of broken Japanese pottery, I wonder if there’s more to it than just damaged shards put together prettily.
In a world where time goes by too fast and social media puts too much expectation and too little payoff for one’s self esteem, perfection seems to be unceremoniously demanded by all aspects of life. And quite frankly, that’s exhausting. A perfect Instagram feed, showing a person with perfect skin and body surrounded by equally unblemished individuals; Facebook status updates about how great life is going and Twitter retweets of gorgeous travelogue photos. But reality is harsher, and behind the pictures of wide smiles are jagged edges of arguments between friends, family, partners that are hidden by likes from acquaintances. With each success we share with the world there are ten failures that kept us late at night alone, wondering how things could have gone so wrong. So we bury the hurt and bandage the wounds with Snapchat filters and an eternal grin.
Just as an artist celebrates the restoration of fragments in his creation, so should we have faith in our own Creator that restores and heals us.
But kintsugi shows us that the scars from wounding words from a loved one and broken dreams shouldn’t be kept away; they are what makes us unique, resplendent, and a testament to how whole we can be once again. What breaks us should not keep us shattered with doubt and fear. Just as an artist celebrates the restoration of fragments in his creation, so should we have faith in our own Creator that restores and heals us. The scars we carry with us will only give us character and grace that comes from overcoming bad experiences, and that is infinitely more beautiful than your best #OOTD post.