• Tea bowl in the style of Koetsu, unknown Raku ware workshop 18th century, Japanese, 1662?-1722 Edo period. (Photo - asia.si.edu).Some things dare to be more beautiful after they are broken.

      By Tera Landers

      A wonderful example of this is broken pottery that’s been repaired using the Japanese art of Kintsukuroi. The ceramic shards are bonded together using gold or silver lacquer. Thin, shiny threads bind the pottery together again. The seams glow and the piece becomes whole once more. And it is believed to be more stunning for having been broken.

      When something breaks – whether it’s a piece of pottery, or a favorite shirt that rips, or a heart that aches – it’s hard to imagine that it can emerge stronger and better than before.

      And as much as it may pain us to admit it, we know that in our own lives, brokenness almost always precedes a time of great personal or spiritual growth.

      It’s one thing to be able to identify the beauty cracked pot or a carefully patched shirt.

      But what about the places of brokenness in our own lives?

      We’ve all experienced those times. A relationship fell apart, or our health failed, or we realize that our outward actions do not match the inner values we hold.

      When we find ourselves in the dark places of our lives, we don’t always see the
      immediate opportunities and possibilities that await us. These times of despair call into question all we hold dear.

      As painful as they are in the moment, these experiences also serve to ground us. To deepen us. To connect us to the rest of Creation. To strengthen our empathy.

      As people who care about the earth and earth’s inhabitants, we are called to enter into the world’s broken places. We feed people who are hungry. We do our part to repair the earth. We speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.

      And it’s at those moments that the grief and despair we hold inside us actually helps us become the people we most want to be. Those splits and tears that we carry and that have become part of us, they let our love seep out, gently nourishing all we come into contact with.

      This coming week, examine the areas of brokenness in your life. Does something need immediate attention?

      Are there seams that have weathered a bit with time, that are now part of your everyday humanity? These threads allow you to be more fully human and engaged here on this earth. Dare to recognize that, and gently hold your own beauty as you faithfully follow your purpose in the world.

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      1. Alex Nodopaka says:

        Thank you for the encouragement for us to break all the Made in China Mainly Seconds chachkas we bought in the last many years and proposing a way of making of the shards instant priceless archeological artifacts. I mean don’t we value headless armless and proboscis-less Greek & Roman & Middle eastern artifacts? Hahaha!

      2. Caroline Ducout says:


      3. Kathabela Wilson says:

        These are beautiful images, artworks, I especially love this concept as for years I have collected my favorite broken things and put them in large plastic nut jars, as an art installation, in our home, and also have displayed in poetic and artistic situations. Right now, at home, we are in the process of “recovering”, healing, precious broken things after Rick’s accident. Much good has come also from this, and in fact our relationship was something that emerged after a very broken time.

        such a consolation

        this clear plastic jar

        the pleasant smoothness

        of its screw-top lid

        I throw in everything I break


        By the way, when we visited Pittsburgh we went to the Andy Warhol Museum. There was a clear glass room I identified with. Every month, he had a habit of sweeping everything on his desk into a cardboard box, and labeling it by the month. On the shelves in this room were all these boxes. In front of the room is a glass case. Each month they empty the contents of one of the boxes and display. Unopened mail, flyers, concert tickets, small gifts, dolls.

        room full of broken things
        in clear plastic jars–
        the kathabela museum

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