Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in…Leonard Cohen
Today, I was overcome with a fit of melancholy—regretting some of the avoidance techniques I used as a parent. I avoided confrontation, shut my eyes to possible problems, hid my head in the sand and held my butt in the air—so to speak. Not a great picture—but that’s what ostriches (and fearful people) do.
I sent a message to my youngest son, telling him of my regrets, wishing I had been more. More present. More aware. More courageous.
My son was gracious. This was his reply to me. “Love you so much mom…I was destined to walk the path I have walked from birth and for either of us to think we could have changed anything is playing god in the past tense. I was an addict at 2 when I was stashing candy.”
My reply: “What a beautiful insight into the sovereignty and grace of God. Thank you. That blesses me so much.”
Him: “Should have sent me to rehab at age two.”
Me: “I couldn’t find a program that let two year olds attend.”
Truth is, in my perpetual brokenness, I can only be what I am at any given minute—walking in the light of that moment’s wisdom and emotional health. I could only be what I was as a parent on any given day in the past as I struggled with depression and anxiety. My son saw that and forgave me—and God for that matter. We are broken people trying to navigate our own suffering and pain in the light of present truth. We trust God to fill in the gaps with His grace.
As part of that texting conversation, I told him about a Japanese art form I heard about. It’s called Kintsugi—the art of healing broken pottery through the use of lacquer and precious metals. The philosophy behind this repairing process is that something should not be discarded just because it is broken. It is in fact more beautiful for having been broken.
I know that’s how I feel about my son as he draws near to the two-year mark of freedom and healing from addiction. He’s more beautiful. It requires great humility to grant permission to share this with the world—and he did so freely, joyfully with the hope that it might encourage someone else to be free.
Truth is, we’re all in the process of being “Kintsugied.” The mangled pieces of our lives are being painstakingly pieced together—nursed patiently—as the great Artist bends his head to glue the pieces with gold.
As I sat in McDonald’s writing this, a young woman sat beside me. Her name is Lynne. I engaged in a brief conversation with this stranger earlier. “Could you pray for me, please?” she almost whispered, reaching gently for my hand. She shared briefly about depression and anxiety haunting her life. I recalled the gripping fear that had tormented me as a young mom—having talked about it the night before with some women I mentor. How desperate she must have been—to approach a stranger—for wholeness.
She longs to be “Kintsugied.” She needs grace and mercy and the eternal undying love of a God that does not slumber and embeds righteousness and beauty into the broken places of His children’s lives. She longs—like the rest of us—to at least know that God is at work making us more beautiful in our brokenness—even if we also know the last pieces of our lives won’t be knit together with gold until heaven.
This is our confidence.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Rom. 8:28 NIV
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 ESV