Kintsugi and Trauma

Do you sometimes buy Christmas presents for yourself ?

I bought myself this mug, as it is a representation of Kintsugi, the ancient Japanese art form that reminds us that there can be beauty in brokenness.

Originating in 15th Century Japan, broken pieces of precious pottery are repaired using gold dust and resin. The gold pattern results in the broken item becoming even more precious and beautiful.

Examples of Kintsugi art are on display at many museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in NYC. Numerous photos of this art form are found on the internet as well. My mug, however, has not been broken, it just has a “Kintsugi” pattern on it.

It reminds me that I am a survivor of clergy abuse and cover-up, that devastated my family and my parish. I have survived, and my scars remain, and it is best to try accept them as a part of the person I have become.

Christmas is a particularly tender time for survivors of clergy abuse, since we spend more time thinking about church, and the fact that we expect healing, and not hurt from our churches.

However, that is why Christ came; he came to heal a broken world and offer salvation to souls. He cares for us, and loves us all, and he, who was himself betrayed, understands the pain of betrayal.

29 thoughts on “Kintsugi and Trauma

  1. I’m so sorry you experienced this in the church. That’s truly awful. However, I’m also moved by your willingness to separate Christ out from his (apparent) followers, and to find healing in him. What a beautiful testimony. Thank you for not being bitter and for working to have such a tender heart. Also, thank you for sharing it with the world.

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    1. O , thank you so much. I debated about posting this, but if it is helpful to some, that makes it worthwhile. Yes, as you say, let us not be angry at Jesus for the hurt of clergy betrayal. God bless you for commenting.

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      1. I’m glad you posted it!!! It’s easy to write off Jesus and the church because of the actions of certain priests (and those actions are very serious). But that is not who Jesus is. Those terrible acts break his heart too. Someone like you is in a powerful position to show what it means to have a relationship with Christ – and to testify that Jesus is safe, and is able to comfort and heal. And we want to point people to him, not the church.

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  2. Hello Sally,
    I’m very shocked and of course sad to hear this news of your having been abused by a sinful twisted man of the cloth in your childhood church. This is very encouraging of you to open this up and share so deeply personal difficulty this way; along with the interesting “Kintsugi, the ancient Japanese art form that reminds us that there can be beauty in brokenness.” I agree and didn’t know about that specific one but long ago in college I studied world religions and cultures including Japanese. Another that I found curious was Chinese philosophy and especially Confucius along with some of their proverbs which are so true, “Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” – Chinese Proverb. I know you obviously have lit many candles not only depicted in your articles, but I’m sure in silence even more so!
    I just thought how the Yin and Yang or ebb and flow kind of thinking can apply as to having loss we can gain and that in gain there is loss! “Yin and Yang is a concept of dualism in ancient Chinese philosophy, describing how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.” Another that comes to my mind was how with “each gain there is loss and each loss there is gain,” which is so true for all of us! This brought to my attention something I had seen online by Laura Berman Fortgang titled With Every Gain, There Is a Loss which this link will provide, http://www.livinglifefully.com/flo/flobewitheverygain.htm
    I’d like to add here from the Holy Scriptures that I feel is quite fitting, “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,” Philippians 3:8
    Yes indeed Sally, we are going through our many trials and tribulations not just as a world of human beings but in our own individual way too; especially so we can have a personal relationship with Him our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Amen. Perhaps in working out our hardships and pains that is the great impetus to get so much closer to Him; for there is no other source of perfection and answers to all of our prayers than our Lord God! I’m still learning what I speak of here, and how a big one is “forgiveness” first for others and then ourselves; after all look what our Perfect Father in heaven has done for us, we who do so much wrong in His eyes of absolute perfection and Holiness; but still He came as our Loving Lord and Savior Jesus Christ out of Pure Love to Forgive us for it all! WOW!
    God Bless You! 🙏
    Brother in Christ Jesus,
    Lawrence

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    1. Hi Lawrence !
      Thanks for your kind words. I read the article you recommended, and found it helpful.
      God has his purposes in everything. I did learn to forgive, and it took a long time, and I needed God’s help to do so.
      I think what I’ve been through helps me to better understand why people can become turned off to ‘church’. Let us always ask God to help us lead others to a personal relationship with Jesus. That is what our faith is all about. 🤗

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      1. Hi Sally! 🤗
        So well you state the most underlying principle at work in our lives and in this particular matter you have faced so courageously for so long!
        On the point of many of the flock scattering and leaving the church or those that never attended putting it down as a waste of time I can only say I know they are wrong and you are living proof of that; we see! Perhaps out of what a man I used to work with once told me regarding evil, he having studied in seminary spoke to me about how God can use evil for His ultimate purposes and I think that is true without a doubt. I also say that dumping the church or in essence Jesus Christ is akin to throwing the baby out with the dirty bath water or in essence let’s say; that a wolf attacks a herd of sheep in the night and takes away one of the youngest innocent lambs would the shepherd give up tending to the flock or should there be no flock and just let them live scattered and wild wandering aimlessly each to its own devices to fend for itself without the comfort and protection of the flock or their shepherd or master? Of course you and I know the value in remaining steadfast in our mission or purpose for being on earth to begin with, and then in spite of whatever calamity or tragedy befalls any one individual or even the herd, being vigilant as a community holding onto the faith and growing it, that in the end is our means to and end when all tears and sadness will be wiped away and replaced with everlasting joy and peace that could only come via this deliverance! You being a woman I know you will relate even better than I ever will to my idea that this is truly a delivery or birth process living in this dichotomy of love and hate, peace and war, happiness and sadness, pain and ecstasy, life and death, innocence and knowledge kindness and cruelty, sweet and bitter, sinfulness and redemption; we through our sometimes tumultuous lives evolve or are elevated to a high level of insight and connection to our Lord’s Holy Spirit in the process of living it and we can commune with Him this way seeing the wide range and depth of what it means to be truly human as a child of God’s, in essence our capacity to receive absolute love and then seeking to give it can be actualized in a way that otherwise would have been totally impossible unless God programmed us to just be that way, and you and I know we don’t want that at all, communism on earth comes to mind and in heaven that concept would be all the worse having to be perfect in a perfect realm just because we are; but no clue why or what it is! Where is the feeling and depth of emotion from the heart in that? This journey we’re on is well worth the turmoil we go through without any doubt I say this.
        I in recent years was so betrayed by so many people some I just got to know others in high stations in life but even though I suffered immensely at their hands or by their vicious attacks upon my life both mentally and even by physical health damages I don’t care one bit now, because as hard as it is to overcome how angry or broken hearted I have been at different times I know I’m still the good me deep inside, and I won’t let anything on this earth conquer or destroy that! I will stand tall or lay flat on my back and shout that I am fee of all the demons of this world and will not fear any evil but rejoice in the Lord who is all that really matters when all is said and done. Maybe that seems defiant but it is not, I’m only sure that I grew stronger far more from the hell these people put me through than I was before and ever could have been if all that burden weren’t tossed upon me. Fearless and certain is what I am; and I think of how in the movie Papillion based on the true life story of Henri Charrière. “A French writer, convicted as a murderer by the French courts. He wrote the novel Papillion, a memoir of his incarceration in and ultimate escape from a penal colony in French Guiana. While Charrière claimed that Papillion was largely true, modern researchers believe that much of the book’s material came from other inmates, rather than Charrière himself. Charrière denied committing the murder, although he freely admitted to having committed various other petty crimes prior to his incarceration.” Wikipedia The film version starring Steve McQueen one of my most favorite actors up there with Paul Newman who I met was superb in the film and the scene at the end when he finally escapes Devil’s Island even makes me tear up now with joy and sadness of how he all alone on a raft made with coconuts and a net was on his back shouting out, “I’m still here you bastards!” Life is very tough and extremely sad as we who are sensitive and have great humanity in our hearts are even more, almost accused to suffer that extra measure while in this life! I’m named after St. Lawrence who I cry about if I ponder who and what he was about and feel so unworthy to even begin to compare myself with him outside of sharing the same name. Sally, it’s not easy for any of us but I try to tell anyone with a problem or who is suffering that I’m sure God is real and I’m so convinced by things He showed me and still does but even special things that were; let’s say miraculous!
        Very cliché here but just keep that beautiful strong faith you have and you are home free! He will be waiting for you glowing with love when you finally go to meet him on the other-side, I hope I’ll see you there too if I make it. I feel pretty sure I will but I still have much to do here to perhaps pay some dues and serve Him getting more humble as I proceed; letting go of the anger and animosity for others who had no right to do what they did to me but they did anyway! Maybe I am busted up and broken but I’m better than that now and maybe better than all those who had a hand in my demise, even so I have to, wow yes, forgive them! This life is like a brief flickering flame that is snuffed out before we know it almost, so hey, I have eternity to look forward to; right!
        Peace be with you!
        Brother in Christ Jesus,
        Lawrence

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      2. Hi Lawrence. It is part of our human nature to feel anger when we are wronged or betrayed. I carried anger for a long time, and it was not doing me any good. My first step in forgiving was being willing to forgive. I asked God to help me, since I couldn’t do this in my own strength. It took years before I could forgive.
        God sees, God knows, and God heals, in his time. We are all sons and daughters of the Most High.

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      3. Hi Sally, now you get to the crux of it for sure speaking about the almost insurmountable, when you say how you took that first step to forgive! Sometimes a person will at some point take that step but others will be taken first that are elicited by a corrupted manmade system, again the crooked ways of the world. When the attack is by one’s very government that is supposed to protect or assist the victimized but instead is only out to protect the guilty within it because it’s become that polluted and nefariously self-serving; then we have a huge problem that inhibits forgiving anyone that is ensnared or entangled in its operation that only serves to continuing placing salt in the wounds it has already inflicted upon the innocent. Yes, I’m sorry to announce that is how bad the world has become my friend and in that scenario forgiveness is much more elusive a quality to come by! Like the old saying goes, “it’s not over till the fat lady sings” and then and only then can one really pick up the pieces and move on. And it is a two way street regardless of how unbalanced the manmade system may stymie things; so perhaps more insult must be added to injury to finally reach some point of resolution even being contemplated; that is why we must remain vigilant in prayer throughout the ordeal, because as you also stated the only real way to overcome anything so arduous is by God’s grace and divine providence. Nonetheless, I’m one who sees beyond the obvious in your face dilemma to realize that there is always an end game or point at which things will break one way or the other! So, as I simply illustrated with my mentioning Papillion who may have had no choice than to be defiant in the face of injustice here on earth, the point when it comes, that opportunity to relinquish the pain, suffering and anger must come and will, just not always as conveniently as we would like it to; so things must play out in their natural order of consequence and the full measure of justice being metered out whether within the man-made system or not; God’s justice will be final. Maybe some people are martyrs to the end and must be serving as an instrument for God to expose the haughty and guilty among us who are the truly defiant ones and deserve no pity or forgiveness, but are given plenty of rope and time to decide for themselves, while perhaps even the saintly are tested! Time will tell!
        And you nailed it with your final words which I must repeat and quote here to end my thoughts on this because there is no better way or whole truth than this; but this truth is so reassuring Sally! “God sees, God knows, and God heals, in his time. We are all sons and daughters of the Most High.”
        Thank you so much for sharing and shining the light of God on so much here!
        Lawrence

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      4. You’re welcome my Friend Sally! I appreciate that you made such a bold and forthright gesture like this and I know you well enough to know it was done from your heart to help others and give courage as well as resolve to those that suffer sometimes in silence! Excuse my long winded reply commentary but I’m sure you are aware that when something strikes a chord deep inside me the way this article you wrote did I’m the kind of guy that jumps into gear and tries to help the best way I know how and attempt to explain or express my own insights along with any value I can bring to the topic only to be helpful in the end result. I’ve always been considered someone who talks a lot but at least they also told me I’m not boring, LOL. Joking aside its time constraints, because even though much of what I have to say may be interesting and even uplifting or at least stimulating, far too many people are too busy or don’t want to take that much time away from other things! Maybe the modern day people with their shorter attention spans and technology distractions are not well matched up with people like me. I rather fancy the idea I would have been very pleased living during Abraham Lincoln’s era or the quite notable wonderful writer Samuel Langhorne Clemens better known as Mark Twain during that same time period. He’s been considered the “greatest humorist this country has produced”, and William Faulkner called him “the father of American literature.” But, regardless of what time we are born into we have our challenges no matter who we are or where; that’s the nature of this life here on earth!
        Warm Regards,
        Lawrence

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  3. Sally just a side note that in my second comment about mid-way into it a typo appears; which being tired lately from the flu or something I goofed and even though most folks would pick up on the error I wanted to make sure because it is a very vital statement in my commentary if not the key. “I will stand tall or lay flat on my back and shout that I am “free” of all the demons of this world and will not fear any evil but rejoice in the Lord”

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      1. Thank you for that Sally, and He sure does! But indirectly He will today when I eat some homemade chicken soup I’m cooking up! Lots of Garlic, Onion, Barley and Veggies will pave the way to recovery! God does help those who help themselves right! Have to do the work sometimes and make some effort!
        Take care and stay healthy too.🤗
        Lawrence

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    1. Hi Crystal. Thanks for your kind comment. God brings healing in his time, and I think that through experiencing trauma I have become much more sensitive and empathetic to the wounds that many of us carry. God bless you, and Merry Christmas ! 🤗

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