Before-word: This piece was written in response to the following questions I’ve been asking myself in the wake of protests to social injustice across the globe: How many times can a people be stretched before their elasticity is extended beyond its capacity to bounce back and they snap instead? What do you do when as a people you feel you’re losing your ability to bounce back? How much longer can a people hope when they see no signs of change but distress, oppression, mistreatment, hurt and abuse instead? What do you do when as a people you feel forgotten, forsaken and left hoping for hope?
If likened to a clay pot that falls, breaking is inevitable. And like broken clay, discarding is also inevitable. Or if efforts are made to put it back together, the cracks will be evident and the original beauty seems lost. Scarred. Scarred for life. No longer fit for display.
The Japanese art of repairing broken pottery—KINTSUGI—literally translated to mean “golden repair”, is practiced from the philosophy of treating breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.
This unique art form, when reimagined in the context of human broken experiences, can inspire a sense of hope.
Right now we are in the breaking.
We are a people yearning for change, looking for hope, wanting restoration. The price for change is the brokenness long endured in our bodies, in our psyche and now magnified for the world to see.
How can the “art of precious scars” give a sense of hope at this time?
In the case of pottery, though broken and fragmented, through a change process of applying a precious liquified metal each broken piece is reconnected and the piece is brought back together again. And because no two objects break in the same way, each restored piece is a unique work of art not to be hidden away but displayed.
In the case of a people—each restored and made whole to highlight and enhance the breaks; each a one-of-a-kind work of art more valuable than before the breaking—can lead to collective restoration. A collective change.
What if we use these experiences of injustice, these tears, the magnitude of these hurts, the enormity of these losses to inspire CHANGE? Like liquified precious metal it can bind our individual and collective breaking into a restored community.
This is the essence of resilience—what I call bounceBACKability! This can be a recipe for hope.
Thanks for reading. I’d like to hear your views—you can hit any of the “share this” icons or the “like” star or “leave a reply” or “follow”.In creative solidarity, Dee