When I first heard about Kintsugi, I was so excited to see something so beautiful that carried such blatant parallels to the gospel.
But, when they told us that we would make our own Kintsugi projects during Incarnate, it seemed like a daunting task. After all, what do I (a musician) know about fixing pottery?
Little did I know what big things God would teach me through that seemingly small time of crafting.
I remember when I handed my small piece of pottery to the man who was tasked to break it. He looked massive in comparison to my frail little cup. Immediately, I began to weep. I thought, “How dare he intentionally smash something that seems so weak with a hammer? ” I was enraged, and I couldn’t really understand why.
I realized that I was viewing my Heavenly Father in the same way that I was viewing the man with the hammer:
“God, why would you break something that seems so weak and frail - on purpose?”
I saw myself in that cup: seemingly helpless in the hands of a God who had the power to save me, but somehow allowed bad things to happen even still - or even worse, was the one who caused them.
One hit. I heard it break, even though it was swaddled in cloth.
I felt like the bang hit me in my chest.
I felt that one, too.
The cup was now disfigured, no longer in its previously identifiable shape.
What was uncovered from the cloth was an absolute mess. The man wrapped it up and handed it to me. Before I returned to my seat to figure out how I would repair it, he assured me of this:
"I am a potter myself. I made sure to break it in a strategic place, so that it wouldn’t be shattered beyond repair.”
As I carried the shards back to my seat and began to find the places where it would reassemble, I felt like God began to reshape my perspective about Him through the process.
There were moments in my life where it felt like God had left me to deal with pain alone, and there were times when I felt as though He wasn’t good because He didn’t stop the pain from coming. Yet, as I assembled my cup back together, I was reminded that God is indeed the Master Potter. When He Himself breaks us, or allows circumstances to break us, it is not to destroy us. It is to make us whole.
His breaking allows for His rebuilding. Redemption is woven into our story as we are rebuilt, and what is seen remains a tangible reminder of His redemptive work.
As I put the finishing touches on my cup - tears still streaming down my face - I couldn’t get the glitter off of my fingers. So, every time I would try to shape the cup to ensure that it hardened in the correct form, little golden fingerprints were left behind on the vessel. The first few times it happened, I tried to wipe them off before the glitter hardened and stayed. But then the epiphany came:
It’s like whenever God redeems us: He always leaves His fingerprints behind.
From that point on, I tried to purposefully put as many fingerprints on my cup as I could. It was a tangible reminder of His faithfulness and goodness in my broken life. The evidence left behind was evidence of His mercy.
In short, the art of Kintsugi - just like the work of God in us - is simple:
Taking something that is broken and repairing it into something more beautiful than before.
The spaces that were once cracked and disjointed are now fused with gold, held together by veins of shimmering beauty.
The scars are no longer hidden, but are now highlighted.
And it is beautiful.
Niyah Easterling is a singer/ songwriter currently residing in Texas. She has a passion for music and dreams of seeing it act as a bridge between different cultures and the gospel in her life.