The Art of Precious Scars
by: Cris Corzine-McCloskey
I have made it past the 1 month anniversary of Dad’s passing. The funny thing about grief is how uncomfortable it makes others. Most people look like they feel guilty when I mention Dad like they think they should be able to “fix” me. But I don’t want them to fix me. I just want to talk about him. Besides, the repair work I want can only come from Jesus.
The Japanese have an art of repairing broken pottery by using gold mixed with lacquer to bind the pieces together. This method is called Kintsukuroi, which can be translated “the art of precious scars.” They call it that because, in their culture, the broken object becomes more valuable after repair. They feel it shows an object’s history, and believe it makes the piece more beautiful.
In our culture, we don’t value broken things. In fact, we have made an art-form out of the avoidance of suffering damage. We anesthetize it, run from it, and discard people we think may cause us pain. But this comes at a cost to our mental and emotional health.
When a child skins their knee, they have a natural tendency to put their hands over that spot to guard the wound. We, adults, do the same thing with a heart wound. After our heart gets hurt, we cover it to guard against future damage. Sometimes, we stop emotionally investing in others because we are afraid they will reject or leave us. Other times, we get clingy, in fear we won’t be able to live through another loss. That is an unhealthy heart guarding, and it leads to anxiety and depression. I believe it’s also how we miss out on Jesus performing Kintsukuroi on our hearts.
The Lord values our tears, and it says in the Bible He saves each one in a bottle. It also says He has a ministry of “binding up broken hearts.” That sounds like Kintsukuroi to me. And when we allow Him to repair our broken hearts, He has a plan to redeem the hurt. That means each time I emotionally invest and suffer damage, I get more Jesus’ ministry to my heart. Before I know it, my heart will be covered with the art of precious scars, and it will be breathtaking to Jesus.
I am currently reading stories of people who have had near-death experiences and met Jesus on the other side. Cross-culturally they all agree that He has asked them a similar question. “What did you do to love others?” I want to have a good answer for Him when He asks me that question. I don’t want to be telling Him how I was afraid of getting hurt, so I guarded my heart against people. I want to have some precious scars to show Him.
Recently, my husband met a new friend, and in their dude bonding, they started showing off their scars. They had a story behind each one. I want to have some stories for Jesus because He is living proof that love leaves scars. He has them on His hands, feet, and side to show how loving us definitely left a mark. I will have a deep one in my heart, filled with precious gold, to show where I loved my Dad, and Jesus bound up the wound. By the time my life is over, I want to have a collection. After all, love is supposed to cost us something, or it isn’t love.
How about you, are you trying to love well, or are you covering your heart? Remember, there is a difference between guarding our heart, which is Biblical, and covering our heart, which is neurotic. We guard our hearts against sin, bitterness, and unforgiveness, not against people. If you are doing the neurotic heart guarding, you aren’t doing anyone any good, including yourself. Now, take your hands off that wound and let Jesus start covering it with gold.