A dear friend from Chile brought me a gift from her hometown of Santiago. I unwrapped the pretty box to find a blue and white porcelain, intricately carved, heart with a lid. I loved it immediately and appreciated the kind thoughtfulness. It sat on my bedroom dresser for years.
When we moved to a new house, the delicate porcelain piece slipped from my hands and broke—a clean and simple break, it was easy to repair with glue. Some years later, it fell again into more pieces; but amazingly, I glued it once more! It had a tiny unfixable chip now and the glued cracks became wider and more visible. Still, it remained in one piece and functional. I kept it!
I never understood why until years later. Sadly through miscommunication and misunderstanding, Wayne and I had a friendship break with a dear couple. Later after months of separation, accusations, and heartache, we came together to work on mending and reconciling our relationship. Eventually, we both asked for forgiveness and went forward, leaving the heartache in the past.
Some years later, I went to lunch with the same friend and thought to give her the broken and mended porcelain heart as a gift. I handed the cracked and mended offering to her, explaining it stood as a significant symbol of our friendship, broken and repaired many times over. In spite of our selfish foolishness, it still held together by the glue of unconditional and forgiving love. We were both very moved at the time.
Later, I had the thought that that situation broke both of us; but in truth, we were already broken. We started our adventure in friendship and partnership with bruised spirits. The pathway of life had already shattered us before we met. That stony path of friendship caused us to trip over the scattered rocks of offense that we should’ve stepped over in love and patience. That broken friendship was an example to me of how every relationship can lead to a deeper break because we start off in a sometimes crushed state already.
Brokenness only reveals brokenness.
And it is the very thing that people want to avoid in life and every relationship—the breaking down of affection and love and communication. Sometimes you have to fall apart completely before you can be healed and brought to wholeness.
Brokenness is a beautiful quality, and certainly something that I look for in relationships. It has the power to heal and bring us to our knees and allow us to see the reality of who we are and to offer others mercy. If we yield our rights in humility and tender care, those times can be about gathering up the pieces and taking them to God in prayer and to those that have been hurt or affected by our unwholeness. The fruit of forgiveness and reconciliation is the sweetest payback in all the earth!
The Japanese have a technique, called Kintsugi, of gluing precious vessels that have been broken together by soldering them with liquid gold. The vessel becomes more precious after the breaking and mending by adding the glue of precious metal.
When he walked the earth, Jesus is the only human that didn’t start off broken but broke when he willingly gave his life and suffered for our bruises inside, for our healing, for our salvation. He yielded his life to put us back together.
I can still see in my mind the porcelain heart that I offered my friend – – all the times of hitting the floor and splitting apart and the glue holding it together. I can still see her face as I explained—both of us so happy for second, third, and fourth chances in life. Forgiveness can go on forever and will until we kiss the scarred hands and feet of the Master Mender of Hearts. I’m so glad the shattering of life can be filled with his goodness—the gold glue of redeeming love. Only God can turn my brokenness into beauty.