Kintsugi

Tomorrow marks the seven year anniversary of my husband’s death. Between 12:30 and 12:41 on February 10, 2011 he committed suicide. I struggle with words to accurately convey the shock of suicide. Words like excruciating and traumatic fail to give justice to the violent collision of all you knew with death by choice. There was no time to brace for impact. My family was hit head on and without warning.

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery. To seal the pieces together again gold is used. If a piece is obliterated or lost completely the gold fills in adding to the value. What remains has some semblance of the original object only more beautiful.

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When Gary died it felt like everything was broken – my heart, my past, my future, my family, my children’s hearts, my entire world. I couldn’t imagine the pieces would ever be fit back together. Like a bowl falling from the top shelf, I was splattered and scattered into tiny pieces. I was sure not all the scraps would be found and that enormous chunks of me were gone.

Nothing is beyond repair for God. He does not waste anything if I allow Him to use everything. He redeems every single tear in His time. From the moment I found Gary in the woods I have seen the magnificent workings of Him in my brokenness. Time takes time but the unfolding of His work is something glorious to behold.

The metamorphosis from something broken to beautiful is, at times, painstakingly slow. Most of the time I could not even tell it was happening. It’s subtlety was easily mistaken for stillness. But, in that stillness change was occurring. In that stillness is where I am certain God is the busiest.

In my heart’s mind I picture this:

I am in complete darkness but I can see fragments all around me. Some are right at my feet and others are in the next room. I bend down to try to gather them and some of them cut. I bleed and the pain of trying to gather what was once me is overwhelming. Some of the pieces are too small to pick up. Others seem unreachable. I am determined to find as many as I can because my children need me to carry on. And I know that He will somehow work all things for good. I can’t imagine how but I trust who He says He is. I trust who He has been. I know He will not leave me now when I need Him the most. So I carefully hand each fragment I can retrieve to God.

“What is this one?” I ask.

“This is your dreams of the future,” He replies lovingly.

“And this?” I ask handing him another piece.

“This is the promise to grow old together,” He says.

“What is this?” I ask.

“Your memories of the past,” He says carefully taking it.

“This one cut me,” I tell Him.

“This is bitterness. You will not need it and I can not use it. Leave it on the floor,” He commands.

“And these?”

“Your peace….your strength…your resolve…your hope…your certainty…your joy…your laughter…your kindness…your happiness…I will restore them all,” He promises.

“There are some missing” I say somberly.

“I will fill in these. They are trust, security and the ability to love and be loved by a partner but those will take a little longer,” He tells me.

I leave the Artist to work on His new masterpiece. I wait, sometimes patiently and sometimes not. But I know with all certainty the pieces of who I was are in the Hands that created the universe. He can and will assuredly create life from what little was left of me.

On an unexpected day I look to find I am complete. I am more than restored. I am created. There was no big reveal or attention drawn to that moment. It just seemed to be. I am stronger. The cracks give me character and uniqueness. I am beautiful not in spite of but because of brokenness. I am not the person I was nor did I become the person I would have. I am someone else entirely but who I was meant to be nonetheless.

There is extraordinary beauty even in the midst of brokenness because that is where we can be sure God is. At times in the brokenness it is hard to see let alone hope. Sometimes all we can do is get through the day and promises of better tomorrows mean little. But the day will come when all that remains is beautiful and strong and glorious for having endured.

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