Friends were coming for dinner. I enjoy entertaining so I went about my preparations, humming as I went along. The afternoon flowed smoothly, but anyone who has entertained knows the last few moments before guests arrive, can get a bit hectic.
Realizing I only had a few, short minutes left, I picked up the pace. I lit candles and stopped in the bathroom for one last touch up. The timer went off in the kitchen. I hurried back to check on dinner and turned off the timer. The bread was perfect!
Realizing I was still holding something from the bathroom, I turned and ran to put it away. In my haste, I knocked my nearly-brand-new, and rather expensive, bottle of Chanel onto the floor. Bits of shattered glass went everywhere, and perfume flowed freely. I stood there stunned for a moment. Tears stung my eyes, but I had no time to mope. I had to get a move on.
I didn’t have the heart to throw it away
Later that evening, long after the guests had gone home, the broken bottle still laid on my vanity. I didn’t have the heart to throw it away. It was expensive and I wanted to savor the fragrance for as long as I could.
I left the broken bottle sitting on the counter for days. In an attempt to savor the remaining fragrance, I’d dip my finger into the oily residue, and dab it onto my wrists every time I walked by.
I stared at it for a moment and thought, “Isn’t that just like us sometimes?” We are beautiful vessels, but the real beauty is on the inside, if we’d only let it out.
My grandmother used to say something like, “Your life is like a beautiful fragrance that you leave wherever you go. May it linger and enhance the room, long after you’ve left.”
Broken plans. Broken relationships. Broken dreams. Ever feel like it takes far too much time and effort to restore things, or worse, its beyond repair? We’ve all had those feelings. The world has placed a stigma on broken things. We are a disposable society that has little use for the broken.
In contrast, the Japanese turn brokenness into art. There is an ancient practice called Kintsugi, which means “to patch with gold”. It is a custom that involves repairing cracked pottery with real gold, silver, or platinum. Instead of hiding the flaws, the artists highlight the gaping imperfections with precious metal, increasing its beauty, while significantly increasing its value. It is the epitome of turning broken, into beautiful. They believe, by repairing the broken, it is not only as good as new, but better because the gold adds strength.
Ever notice that some of the most beautiful growth in our lives, comes after times of devastating brokenness? Although we feel broken at times, our beautiful fragrance still penetrates the room. Unlike anything else, brokenness has a power to bring out things that fill our lives like a beautiful fragrance. I’ve experienced some of my greatest personal growth, on the other side of broken.
What made you change your career path?
Was it because you wanted out of an unfulfilling job? Have you found the love of your life? I bet you’ve experienced a prior toxic relationship that strengthens your appreciation. Brokenness is a thirst that leads us to believe we were made for something more.
Scars, wrinkles, wounds…we try to hide them by only showing the world our perfectly polished side. But when you share your journey to joy, it can never be accurately told, without divulging the times you traveled on Broken Boulevard.
You are not simply a broken vessel patched together in hopes of no one seeing it. You are exquisitely and intricately held together by the gold of life’s experiences, and your fragrance lingers through every part.
So, the next time you feel broken and spilled out, remember even a crushed flower’s fragrance still fills the room.