Photos and reflection by Debbonnaire Kovacs, March 11, 2015    This cup was once my father’s shaving mug. Then it was my (and later my siblings’) first baby cereal bowl. My mother passed it on to me and it became my children’s first baby cereal bowl. Next year it will go to my son and daughter-in-law for their first child, who will be born this October.

You’ll notice it’s got some mended breaks. Nearly everything we hand down through our generations contains brokenness as well as beauty, so we mend the brokenness as well as we can, and try to focus on the beauty.

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I recently learned about the Japanese art of Kintsugi. In an ancient tradition (look it up–it’s amazing!) the Japanese choose to make the mended breaks the focus of the piece by gilding them with gold, silver, or platinum. In their view, the mended pottery is even more valuable than it was before it was broken. My heart literally speeded up. I knew this could be intensely valuable to me. Where could I get gold–in an instant, I remembered that my late husband, among all he left me, left gold paint–he always was gifted in helping me see beauty where I thought it didn’t exist.

Carefully, I gilded all the cracks. (I didn’t do the inside of the cup, since I’m not certain the paint is non-toxic for baby food!) Here is a new symbol of learning that God does not look on me with love in spite of my broken places. Neither does God love me because of my broken places. God loves me. All of me. Period. And the fact that I’ve let God shine through the cracks makes me more valuable, not less.

I encourage you to gild some broken places, prayerfully, this Lenten season.

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