I am like a dish that is broken. Psalm 31:12
Years ago, my family gave me a large oval platter for a birthday present. It is white china, and Virginia Woolf’s words run around the rim in black letters, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” I serve Thanksgiving dinner on it every year. I have moved it from apartment to house and then again to another house.
It looks fragile, and it is… and it is surprisingly heavy. Every time I wash it, I have worried that I would break it.
And this past Thanksgiving, the soapy china slipped from my hands and landed in the sink in two neat pieces. Typing these words brings tears to my eyes: I have invested this piece with symbolic meaning well beyond just liking it and the way it looks on my table. It bears the weight of my hopes and dreams for my family.
That night I carefully dried both pieces and put them away. They still sit on the bottom shelf of the buffet, waiting for me to work up the courage to repair them. I remind myself of Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold. Vases, bowls, platters are beautiful in their transformed state, their fractures and breaks gilded and celebrated, rather than hidden away — or worse yet, discarded.
I remind myself that we are all broken in some fashion, and that when I am still, I hear God’s voice whispering the promise of new beauty to be found in the “golden repair” that He offers. I held on to the platter tightly, too tightly for an object, with energy that would have better served the relationships it was meant to nourish. Psalm 31 ends with the encouragement, “Take courage and be stouthearted, all you who hope in the Lord” (Ps 31:25). Today, I gently challenge us all to courageously accept the fractures and the repairs.