community connection enneagram joel hubbard kintsugi love relationships romance Feb 26, 2024

There is a Japanese practice called Kintsugi, where vessels that have been shattered are repaired with gold. When complete, all the pieces have been carefully brought back together resulting in something even more beautiful than the original version. The other day, I dropped my wife’s favorite mug. She didn’t, but I was sure that she was going to chide me for rushing through doing the dishes, and she would not have been wrong.  

We threw it out just as we have with every broken other bowl, dish, or cup. Objects have less value because they are cheap, but now imagine the one who carefully takes that broken bowl and repairs it. How much more value does it now have? A friend once told me that you love what you spend your resources on, not just the reverse. Now imagine that the repair is made with something costly and beautiful like gold. 

You don’t have to imagine because you are already doing that. Each time you forgive someone you love, you are saying that the relationship is worth piecing back together what has been broken. Each time your partner, friend, family member, co-worker annoys you and you extend grace to them, you are making your connection stronger and more beautiful. 

Of course, there are relationships that are unsafe or where a partner chooses to leave. There are people close to us who refuse to change no matter how damaging it is to them and you. But on the whole, we have a lot of relationships that are worth repairing. Perhaps, consumerism has crept into and crowded out our value for repairing what is broken. 

My wife and I have gone through all of that and more so that we would, at peak times of pain, describe our relationship as “broken.” Each time I would look to the Transcendent and ask what I should do, the answer was always the same, “Your love has to deepen.” I don’t always like that answer but when my heart could embrace this truth, it would expand. I could look honestly at the broken parts of me, her, and our relationship and choose love. 

Take the seemingly broken parts of yourself or of your relationship and sit down for a moment. Breathe. With love, begin the process of applying grace to the broken pieces. It is as simple and yet hard as choosing love, forgiving, and finding the good within each other.  

The end result is something stronger, more beautiful, and more precious. The cracks are not gone but the restoration has made what was broken stronger and more beautiful. It serves as a reminder that what was broken can be restored and the story isn’t over even when we feel broken. It reminds us of the bigger picture. It reminds us that we didn’t give up when things seemed the darkest. We stayed till the end of the movie to see how even the hardest times created the most powerful stories of redemption and overcoming adversity. Kintsugi resonates because we know it to be deeply true. None of our experiences are disposable because they are all part of our becoming. 

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