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The cracked mushroom.

May 20, 2024

My husband's father was a machinist and during his free time he did a lot of woodwork. Some of his pieces are just amazing. It is difficult for me to imagine to take a piece of wood, envision what it inside of it and then take away all the things that don't belong around it. That needs imagination, hard work, a ton of tools and a lot of patience.

One of the pieces dad had made was a beautiful mushroom, standing about 10 inches made out of a piece of mesquite. But, in the process the piece of wood split at the base and dad was going to throw it out. Jim found beauty in it and it has been on our bookshelves for the last 37 years to reflect the beauty and brokenness of things.

In Japan, there is a beautiful art work called Kintsugi: the ancient art of embracing imperfection. When a piece of pottery breaks, instead of throwing it out, they put it back together using precious metals to repair them. The cracks are still visible, but they have become a piece of art.

I wish we would do more of that with people in our lives. We are all broken, we are all clay pots that need repairing. In our current society we have a tendency to just throw away things and people who do not fit our picture of perfection. We put them in nursing homes, prisons, and hospitals. Or we just ignore them, pretending they are not part of our society.

But we are all broken, some more than others, but what if we could look at the brokenness, acknowledge it and let God make some art work out of our brokenness? What if we help each other mend by using healing language, kind actions, and good care? What if we recognize the beauty in people and not throw them out but celebrate their journey and help them mend?

What if we know the name of the homeless person and treat him with dignity? Or we see the teen and invest in her? Or we spend time with the seniors and hear their stories? Or we see the hurt of the addict and help them find healing? Or we see the pressures of the business person and use kind words to give her a break? What if we embrace ourselves and find healing through selfcare, God's care and whatever we need to do to heal with beautiful scars to remember our journey?

The mushroom on our bookshelf is a daily reminder that there is beauty in brokenness.

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