Beautiful Fault Lines

Thought for the day, adapted from a post by Tammy Lenski:

What if, instead of viewing conflict as something that leaves permanent cracks and breaks in our relationships, we viewed those fault lines as testament to what the relationship has weathered? What if, instead of trying to ignore or hide the damage, we revered it, understanding that “as good as new” is a misguided goal?

There is a mending tradition in Japan, called kintsugi, that embraces this idea. Kintsugi, which means “to patch with gold,” is the art of mending broken pottery with resin mixed with gold. Instead of treating the break as something to hide, tea masters treat the repair with reverance, as part of the object’s history.

Often, we try to repair broken things in such a way as to conceal the repair and make it “good as new.” But the tea masters understood that by repairing the broken bowl with the distinct beauty of radiant gold, they could create an alternative to “good as new” and instead employ a “better than new” aesthetic. They understood that a conspicuous, artful repair actually adds value. Because after mending, the bowl’s unique fault lines were transformed into little rivers of gold that post repair were even more special because the bowl could then resemble nothing but itself.

When the fault lines of conflict show up in a relationship, we have this idea that resolution must somehow make things as good as new. Sometimes we even demand that the other make us whole again. Of course, this is impossible, really.

When we aim for “as good as new,” and to be made whole, we set ourselves up for failure and for dissatisfaction with almost any resolution that can be found. There is no cure that can erase the remnants of damage done. Traces of our pain, of the distrust that gnawed our souls, of fear that it could happen again – those traces live in the recesses of our minds, a trickle of unease that haunts us.

And when we aim for “as good as new,” we inadvertently diminish the flaws that make our relationship unique — make us unique, one of a kind, imperfectly special.

– Tammy Lenski

..some things can become more beautiful for having been broken.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s