cherry blossoms in small teacup on wood table
Thinking Out Loud

Beautifully Broken

Confession: I have been moved home with family for two weeks and have yet to really rest. The whole first week I kept busy by decorating my room, organizing boxes, cleaning the house…I’m back to living with 4 other people so the mess has to be maintained by someone, right? I have excuses for why I’m still busy of course, but in general, my thought process is: you can’t be successful as a slacker. I refuse to sit still when I could be spending time furthering my future. But, my future won’t be getting very far if I’m too busy to actually plan for it. For instance, instead of taking more time to dissect the thought of being too much of a busybody, I decided to go grocery shopping.

After being cooped up all day, I was ready to roll out of the house in yoga pants, a baseball cap, minimal makeup, and my favorite Nikes. Grocery shopping is a therapeutic activity for a Type A personality like mine: meals planned, list written, pen in hand, off to the aisles! One of the things I missed most about living in a more suburban area was the access to grocery stores like Wegman’s and Trader Joe’s. I feel right at home shopping next to people who value living a healthy lifestyle, fueled by wholesome food like I do. After a good bit of shopping and meandering around, I finally check out.

On my way out of Wegman’s, I see an old church friend of my family’s who also use to be my high school teacher. Her daughter used to babysit me as a kid, and now I babysit her daughter’s daughters; needless to say, she has known me since before I was born. Let’s call her, Mrs. Potts. I stopped to say hi to her and her sister as they were finishing up lunch when she began asking me how I was and what I was doing back in the area. Mrs. Potts said her daughters were recently asking about me because they saw evidence of another move on my social media but weren’t sure where I ended up [I’ve moved about 8 times in the past 3-4 years].

I explained how the house I was renting on the Eastern Shore sold and no affordable options became available before the required move out date. I told her that moving home was the best decision for me so I could recoup my finances. Signing another year-long lease to live in an area that did not provide a steady income or career opportunity at the moment was just not practical. Let alone the fact that I was severely lacking being in a healthy environment with solid relationships. My church was 45min away so fellowship was always tough.

I continued to explain that I was not simply sitting at home, but still working remotely for the salon to help them hire/train people to take my place. Then, I elaborate on how I am in the process of starting my own consulting business. On top of that, I recently became an independent consultant/health coach with Arbonne so I am busy getting both of my new business ventures off the ground. After a mouth full of explanations justifying my current situation, past history, and future plans, she looked at me straight in the eyes and said, “Okay, that’s all great Haley, but how are you really?”

I immediately felt my body temperature go up. My face turned red and my eyes began to fill with tears. “I’m tired” “I’m hurt” “I’m drained” “I’m exhausted” were the initial thoughts and emotions that flooded my face. I felt defeated. I was doing so great at expressing how confident I was in my decision to move home. I was trying to paint a pretty picture of all the great things I aspired to do and be! My true feelings fell out without my permission like black ink on the page. I was at a loss for words, but she read my eyes and knew my pain.

She looked at me and said, “You gave up a lot didn’t you?” I wearily nodded my head. Mr. Potts explained that in Japanese culture when a teacup breaks, they don’t throw it away or use porcelain to fix it back to its original form. Instead, precious metals, such as melted gold, are used to fill in the cracks to accentuate the “scar” or area of repair. The crack is a story. A past event that took place and broke the object. The gold is a symbol of making the crack(s) that essentially destroyed the pottery’s purpose (e.g. to hold liquid) into a beautiful piece of reclaimed art.

I looked it up and the art form is actually called Kintsugi. The message is absolutely beautiful. As you can imagine, I was trying not to sob like a baby as she was gently explaining this process with tears filling her own eyes as she peered into my brokenness. I feel like a broken teacup. Not cracked, not chipped: broken. As I looked at different pictures of gold seamed teacups online, I realized they too were quite broken. Yet,  in their brokeness, they became more valuable once the precious metal was added to fill in the cracks.

I don’t regret my past, and I shouldn’t. My bad experiences, low points, trials, and heartbreaks have all been lessons learned and situations that helped shape me into the person I am today. If I had not experienced unhealthy habits, fake love, real loss, or unbearable loneliness, I never would have started this blog! I want to encourage you that those scars you wear are beautiful; emotional and physical. I almost titled the entire blog “Beautifully Broken” so this whole post is ironic to me, but very close to my heart.

I can tell you in full transparency that I don’t always (or even usually) see my brokenness in a positive light. Thankfully, God is the Great Physician who made me in His image which is beautiful, complete, and eternal. My brokenness does not defeat my purpose. My broken pieces are all part of the masterpiece God has handmade and mended together to showcase His own glory in gold through me. I am a work of art, still being perfected by my Savior until the day I die.

Don’t let your brokenness keep you fragile. Mend those pieces together with melted gold. Don’t let your past determine your future; it’s behind you for a reason. Don’t let your failures keep you from trying. Learn what not to do next time.  Don’t let people tell you who you are. Show them who you can be when you step out in faith and make moves.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” Psalm 147:3 (ESV)

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

“Behold, I am making all things new.” Revelations 21:5

Be healed.

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