This past week I was talking with a friend who had recently returned to Florida from a trip to Japan. He shared a unique experience from Japan through casual conversation but the impact of the story was motivating. Here is my friend’s story about what ancient Japanese art taught him about our individual value.
One evening in Japan, he sat down waiting for a meal to be served and noticed the bowls along with a few tea cups broken from use. Watching the meal being prepared they began to serve food in the broken bowls. As his meal was placed in front of him he examined the bowl to notice cracks all through it. Not wanting to be disrespectful he kept his thought to himself. Although it was easy to tell that he was wondering why they were all eating from damaged bowls.
Soon after the meal was finished they were served tea in cups that had many cracks in them. The tea cup cracks looked different than the bowls. The cracks were lined with gold making the cracks stand out even more. Even though the imperfections stood out there was something beautiful to them. No matter where the conversation was heading, my friend kept his focus on the cracked bowls and cups that were still in front of him.
After a wonderful evening and meal he began to leave for the hotel.
As he was saying goodbye he asked his friend through a whisper why all the dishes were cracked. After his friend stopped laughing he explained it was an art called Kintsukuroi. After something was damaged it was repaired with gold solder. He went on to explain how just because something is damaged it certainly is not useless. By applying gold it is made more valuable and increases in beauty. Each piece has a unique damaged part and repair process.
As I heard this story I was reminded how this relates so much to our lives and our individual value.
As we go through life we experience broken moments and what seems like failure. It can feel as though we are useless because of the damage. Never the less there is a God who won’t give up on us. Because of His grace we can be molded together again. The fact that Jesus came to save us has made us stronger and more beautiful. Because of grace we are saved from a broken life. We can easily focus on the cracks and problems in our life like my friend did when he first saw the bowls. But the more broken we are the more valuable we become.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in your weakness.: – 2 Corinthians 12:9
This story reminds us that we have a purpose and it is our damaged parts that make us special. He can fill the places we have failed, to make us better than where we started. Our value increases each time we return to God with our brokenness.