KintsukouroiMy nephew is a Rubik’s cube aficionado.  He owns more than perhaps is healthy.  These past two weeks he’s waited for a custom-made cube to arrive.  He ordered it while on Spring Break and every day since my sister and I have been treated to his incessant request to track his shipment.

For the past three days we’ve heard nothing but that supposedly silent cube being solved.  When I came home last night he was distraught because one of the colored stickers had started to peel off.

Quality and endurance expectations aside, I explained to him that the enjoyment he’s experienced in playing with the cube will necessarily cause some “damage”.  He could have a perfect cube if it sat in the box and he never touched it.  But that’s not what he purchased it for, was it.

In past posts I’ve ruminated on the satisfaction of being more authentic.  Too often I’ve succumbed to the lure that my nephew was experiencing for the first time, the lure of perfection.

Kintsukuroi is the Japanese art of broken pottery.  These days, most of us toss our broken things in the trash or if we’re being “responsible” into the recycling bin, we often don’t give a second thought to repair.  Let’s face it, we live in the Disposable Age.

Interesting fact, when the housing bubble burst back in 2008 the cobbler industry saw double-digit growth for the first time in a decade.  All of a sudden we no longer had the disposable income to well, partake in so much, “disposability”.

I think the Japanese are on to something, important.  Instead of prizing perfection, what do you think would happen if we started valuing survivorship, started realizing that no one is perfect.  We’ve all had our moments of struggle, personal disappointment, poor decision-making, sometimes with catastrophic results.  The ability to rise above and become something better, not despite of our hardships but because of them, is a paradigm shift worth pursuing.

In Leonard Cohen’s song “Anthem” he writes, “there’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”  There is such raw, beauty in that.  It’s a beauty I’ve come to appreciate and deeply, deeply respect.

3 thoughts on “The beauty of brokenness

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