When any precious object has been broken, the Japanese aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks and any lost fragments with pure gold. They believe that when something has suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.
As an antique dealer always on a treasure hunt, I have had the good fortune to find a very few and rare artifacts with fascinating stories and histories within them. This is one of them. I could never afford such a piece, as very old authentic ones are too rare, highly prized, and are very, very expensive. To understand the true beauty and value of these pieces, I had to learn a couple of new words and some history of an age old Japanese Artisan method and reason. Upon learning about them, all I could think of was “Wow!…This is who we all are and how we got this way in recovery!” The two words I learned were:
Aggrandize — To glorify and praise with nobility
Kintsugi — To repair or put together with dust made of pure gold
Is this not who we all are in recovery? We come into recovery as broken people. Our pieces and fragments are scattered all about— so broken that any usefulness appears utterly destroyed. And we lie there in the rubble of pieces, that is, until we make the choice that we desire to be put back together and useful once more. When we come to that place of choice, to be made whole again, we are immediately given two gifts. The first gift is all the pieces….the big ones, the little ones, the fragments, and all the cracks to fill. Even the open holes fit in such a way as to be able to be filled. We are all there….just in many pieces. The second gift is that we are also the artist — the re-creator of ourselves. The re-making of who we are and who we are to become is entirely in our hands, our minds, our hearts, and our imaginations. How and what we choose to fill our cracks with is at our total command. We could choose to repair with a mud or clay of indifference, it could be the glue everyone else seems to be using, we could even tape over our brokenness if we just want to exist and appear whole enough to get by. But why not fill ourselves with gold instead and re-create the rare treasure we were meant to live!!?? Pure gold is on the table in front of us, through choice — right alongside the mud, the clay, the glue and the tape. So how do we pick up the gold instead? Moment by moment. Every time we speak gently, we add a little more gold. Every time we pass through a difficult time and don’t pick up a drink, we add more gold. Every time we take action on our goals and dreams we add chunks of gold. Every act of kindness adds gold. Every time we reach out to others with kindness and compassion…we are adding gold. Every act of every next right thing as best we know how, moment to moment, day by day, we are adding more and more precious gold to the vessel of ourselves. The more we live well, being genuine and authentic to ourselves, the more valuable, radiating, and filled with the gold and beauty we become. We soon find we are radiating reflections of gold back to ourselves, our lives, and everyone we touch. Before long, we have created so much gold in our lives that we find others and help fill their cracks and brokenness right alongside us. There is plenty of gold for all of us! We have a day to fill today. We have ourselves to fill today. We have nooks and crannies to mend or shine. We have histories and we have stories of brokenness. Like the artisans, let us recognize our value in the pieces and realize that through our brokenness, we all become even more beautiful. Let’s all recognize our rare and priceless value…… and put just a little more gold on ourselves and each other today. I would add one more word, simplicity. Repairing the vase was simple and straight forward, but not easy.