“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen
Dear Kraniacs, today we’re going to talk about living life between the cracks. Have you ever walked down the sidewalk and stumbled upon a little flower, defiantly growing up through a crack in the pavement. What a bold and determined little thing! To grow despite the challenge, the unfriendly environment. Can we too, be like that little flower and grow despite where we’ve been planted?
“Kintsugi”, or kintsukuroi, is the Japanese tradition of repairing broken things (usually pottery) with gold. The goal is to not make the cracks unnoticeable, but rather, to highlight them. In kintsugi, the broken becomes beautiful and more valuable because of what it has gone through.
While I had heard of kintsugi before (and it is the inspiration for the title of this blog), I stumbled upon this video recently and it came at a time when I was really needing the reminder that there is value and beauty within the struggles.
Now, before you say it, I know. I know that you’ve got a bit of that skeptical face going on right now. That’s an awfully big glass of Kool-Aid. A life with chronic illness isn’t like a momentary bad turn. We are often faced with the realistic fear that we will always be like this, always suffering. The truth is, though, everyone suffers. Having a chronic illness does not give us the monopoly on suffering. You have a migraine, someone else is getting a divorce, another person’s car broke down, that other guy just lost his job. Everyone, whether chronic illness sufferers or not, has a life full of the mundane, the frustrating, and yes, the just plain awful. We’re all broken. We’re all tired. We all go through life trying to find something to hold on to. We’re all those little flowers growing up through the pavement wondering “Why me?!”
The advantage, if you can call it that, that we expert sufferers have, is that we can gain a clearer picture of life as a whole. When you are forced to budget your time and energy, you choose what is most important to you. The insignificant things that so many people get tripped up by, are easier for us to discard. I choose to fill my cracks with gold – I cultivate relationships with my loved ones, I take joy from the little moments, I make time for self-care and I try to give back and help others through their pain.
We all have cracks. The question is, what will you repair yours with?