My family should really own stock in Superglue! We go through bottles of this stuff every month. We have found a zillion uses for this potent nectar of cohesiveness, but the main thing that we use it for is to repair all of the things we break! It’s a special gift that we have; the ability to knock over, drop or break things on almost a daily basis! On any given day you could walk into my house and see me hunched over a broken item trying to line up the jagged edges; painstakingly attempting to apply super glue in exactly the right spot. Don’t even get me started on the fact that I ALWAYS end up supergluing my fingers together, or dripping superglue onto everything EXCEPT FOR THE ITEM I AM TRYING TO FIX! Somehow, even with my ineptness at wielding a superglue bottle, I end up getting the broken item glued back together. And if I get really lucky, and all of the broken- edges-super- glue- application -stars align just right, once the broken item is repaired, you can’t even see where it was damaged in the first place. (But just in case we always try to turn the broken piece to the back where it can’t be seen!) The only problem is that when we knock over or drop this item again (and we ALWAYS do it again!) it tends to break right where it was glued together. Seems like that spot isn’t as strong as it should be anymore. Even if I use great big globs of super glue…it just isn’t ever really the same.
A perfect example of this is the sweet ceramic angel that sits on my mom and dad’s kitchen counter. That poor angel has been knocked into the floor a zillion times by overzealous grand kids, or slipped out of soapy dishwater hands only to smash into the granite counter. Every time it falls a wing breaks off. Those poor angel wings have been glued on again and again and again. But each time we knock it over, it breaks in the very same place. Really, even when you fix the broken wing with the strongest of super glues, it never looks exactly right, and it is never really the same.
In direct contrast to my pitiful super glue repair program, in Japan they have a centuries-old method of fixing broken things (usually pottery) called Kintsugi. Kinstugi is the process by which broken pottery is fixed using a special lacquer that contains powdered gold, silver, or platinum. The end result is a beautiful mosaic; seams of gold that glint in the repaired cracks of the pottery, often making the piece much more beautiful than it was originally. The Japanese have a philosophy called wabi-sabi which calls for finding beauty in things which are flawed or imperfect. Instead of trying to cover up the imperfections and broken areas, they emphasize these areas and embrace the unique history that each of these imperfections represent.
Fixing broken places.
My life has had many broken places. Places that I have frantically and diligently tried to “glue” back together so that no one would notice where it had been broken. Places that too often have failed again in the very same spot, because even after I “repaired” it; it just wasn’t the same. I spent a great deal of time during my teenage years and early adulthood thinking that I had to hide all of these imperfections from the world.
Surely I shouldn’t let you see the places that I have so foolishly broken in my life. Maybe, just maybe, if I hurry up and get the glue on fast…if I line up the jagged edges just right…maybe, just maybe you won’t see the brokenness. Maybe I won’t have to explain to you how I struggled, and how I failed. Maybe you will never see how many times I have broken the same area in my life; time and time again. Maybe I can hide it from you. Maybe I can even hide it from God!
How many times have I inspected the brokenness of my life and added guilt and shame to the imperfection, only to make the wound larger and all the more difficult to repair? How many times have I cried over damage done by myself and others; some that I orchestrated and some that I had no control over? How many times have I looked at my life and seen my failed attempts to put it all back together again, just to realize how obvious the jagged edges really were? How many times have I hidden my brokenness for fear that others would see the glaring imperfections? How many times have I despaired when realizing that in all my attempt to “fix” things; nothing is ever really fixed; never really the same?
Oh sweet friends, gather close! I have such good news for us! Jesus is NOT the master of superglue. He is the Master of Kinstugi! When we come to him in our brokenness, when we present him with a useless vessel full of flaws and imperfections, he doesn’t just cover up the brokenness and try to hide the flaws. He examines the imperfection, the ruin of our lives, and then he meticulously fills the flaw with his amazing mercy and grace! Jesus takes the misery and brokenness of our lives and creates a masterpiece of beauty!
And once Jesus has repaired our brokenness, it is FIXED. It is FINAL. It is COMPLETE…and it will never be exactly the same. Now, through his intervention the perfected imperfection becomes a TESTIMENT to God’s unfailing love and the powerful cleansing blood of Jesus. Now, what once was broken is a TESTIMENT to renewed lives and mercy unending. Now, what was inflicted by evil to cause harm is a TESTIMENT to that which God intended for your good. Now, that which represented ugliness and sin is a TESTIMENT to the beautiful mosaic that God creates in our lives through forgiveness and grace.
PUT THE SUPER GLUE DOWN!
We do not have to strive to line up jagged edges and hide imperfections. We can accept the healing of our Father and stand amazed as our wounds are filled with beauty unimagined. Then, without shame we can embrace the history that each of these perfected areas of imperfections represent with the sure knowledge that our story is one of salvation and victory.
So, the next time you see me; look closely. Ask me about the places that have been broken and repaired, and I will tell you about my Jesus; the master of Kinstugi!