Kintsugi (金継ぎ) is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery. Rather than gluing the pieces back together in a way that conceals the cracks, Kintsugi makes the cracks even more visible by filling them with lacquer resin mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. This results in a metallic design that runs across the surface of the pottery, making it look even more beautiful than before it was broken.
The philosophy behind Kintsugi is that objects don’t need to be thrown away because they are broken; nor must their brokenness be hidden. Rather, brokenness is embraced as simply part of an object’s life. The significance of an object does not fade just because it’s been broken.
The same philosophy applies to us. Our value does not decrease because we are broken. In fact, sometimes brokenness is required to live lives that are fully surrendered to God. Sometimes the road to falling more in love with God means letting our hearts be broken first.
God never said it would be easy. “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23). | “… Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24) | “Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.” (Mark 8:35)
See… We can’t fall more in love with God until we fall out of love with whatever isn’t, first and foremost, Him.
Everything we’ve built our lives upon, everything we’ve sought false security in, everything we’ve gotten far too attached to — our jobs, our hobbies, our relationships, our plans — sometimes God will ask us to let go these things. And even if we know it’s all for the better, it certainly won’t feel that way for the time being. It’s going to hurt. It’s going to feel like the definition of having a broken heart.
But all that’s left is to surrender to this brokenness.
We commonly look at Mary as the model of obedience. But let us not forget that she, too, harboured a broken heart. By witnessing her Son break from the sins of the world, she, too, broke. She allowed herself to. She let it be. She surrendered to the pain and united it with the Lord’s because she had knew God’s love would triumph. She allowed herself to become so empty so that God, alone, could fill her. And He did.
As part of Mother Teresa’s consecration to Mary, she prayed something like this: “Mary, keep me in your most pure heart” and “Mary, lend me your heart.” If we, too, want to draw closer to Jesus through Mary by asking her to lend us her heart, then expect to be broken hearted — because her heart was one that was broken.
Yet, broken as it was, no other heart in this world was able to love Jesus more than hers. No other heart was more united with His than hers. No other heart became as swollen with the Holy Spirit as hers. We have nothing to fear in this brokenness. We have only to hope.
So give God your heart, even if it’s in pieces – no, especially if it’s in pieces. Give Him the broken shards and He will return it, gluing the pieces back together, not bothering to conceal the cracks but celebrating them, painting them gold — so that, like Kintsugi, our hearts will be returned to us, even more beautiful than before they were broken.
Beautiful because they were broken.