Broken Yet Beautiful
October is a month of contrasts. At least here in the Midwest where I live, there are days where the stunning colors of changing leaves against moody gray skies makes every day scenery look dramatic and surreal. My sun- and summer-loving heart really does ache when summer ends, knowing the cold days ahead of us, but somehow the beauty of those October skies still sends it soaring. I was reminded of this recently, as I thought about broken hearts. None of us can get through life without experiencing suffering. Some of life’s heartbreaks are small cracks; others are the truly deep fissures that leave you wondering how you will ever survive. Rarely do we see suffering as something beautiful. And yet, it can be. Jesus promised us that suffering was not the end of the story, but that through it, there would be resurrection and glory.
In this month, when we remember in a special way the babies and children we don’t get to keep, lost to us through miscarriage or early death, it is important to know that even in the midst of great loss and pain, there can be beauty and redemption. A dear friend of mine who went through her own incredibly difficult and painful heartbreak shared with me something she was learning on her journey through her suffering. In Japan, there is an art form called Kintsugi, which means “joining with gold.” Broken pieces of pottery are fused and restored with seams of pure gold. The result is vessels that once were cracked or shattered are made whole again, though not in a perfect, good as new sort of way. Instead, the cracks and the shattered pieces are highlighted in gold—you see they are there, and you know that the vessel had been broken, but somehow the effect of adding gold to those places makes it all the more beautiful and precious.
The process of traditional Kintsugi requires patience and focus. It cannot be done in a hurry. I think of how this relates to our hearts that have been cracked and shattered by the trials we face in life. Do we hold onto or try to cover the damaged pieces, either spiraling into despair or putting on a façade that everything is just fine? Or do we offer them to the Divine Artist, our Lord, to fill and heal these fractured parts of our hearts with his love and mercy? For many of us, perhaps even all of us, this may be a long, slow and lifelong process. But we are invited by the God who made each one of us and who wants our ultimate happiness to trust Him with the pieces of our broken hearts, and to allow Him to turn them into something beautiful and infinitely precious.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness month. For many women whose children died before they truly had a chance to live, this is a heartbreak that we will carry with us all of our own lives. We are blessed to have the saints, our friends in heaven, to show us the way to heroically pick up this cross. St. Zélie Martin, the mother of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, lost several babies to miscarriage and illness, but in spite of the pain and sorrow she faced, she reminds us that the greatest tragedy is losing heaven. The children she had to say goodbye to on this earth were not lost forever, but are now interceding for her in God’s presence. May we have the hope and trust that St. Zélie Martin displayed when she wrote, “We shall find our little ones again up above.”
The ChewsLife crew is praying in a special way this month for all who have suffered the loss of a child, and we are offering a new collection to honor both the babies we hope to meet in heaven, as well as those ones that came after a loss, bringing new hope and beauty into our lives—the Rainbow Collection.