I broke Spring the other morning, a kind of rare-ish figurine from the mid 18th Century, one of the Seasons. A chappy from Sotheby’s appraisals making the rounds of the English countryside suspected it was the work of – well, it doesn’t much matter, does it? I mean, now that her head’s been guillotined right off. Her arm, too. Oh, and her hand detached from her arm. So, I pretty much shattered her.
It was 2:30 am, pitch black and I steered myself right into her. By 2:31, I was thinking: Maybe there’s a lesson here. Not a big one, just a little one. Turn on the light? Not likely. Move the statues? Too late for that.
Nope. There was no lesson at all. You’ll have to believe me; I looked at it from every angle. Nothing. I accepted that it was going to be yet another wabi-sabi episode.
Wabi sabi is, of course, a Japanese invention, an aesthetic, that lets us appreciate imperfections and damage. It does ask that an attempt be made to repair, with care and as much crafstmanship as possible, but once that’s been done, it allows us to see beauty where we might otherwise sit down, hard, and say: Crap!
It worked fine for me, long before I even knew there was such a thing. I break a lot of stuff. I spill. That’s just how it works, so I probably had to come up with a way of forgiving myself.
I think the idea works pretty well for humans, too. Damage happens to us, mostly because we live among another humans beings and we get wounded and hurt and insulted. You know. The list is long.
If we try to repair ourselves, though, we can become such beautiful things! Yes, the damage has left a mark. Others can sometimes glimpse our scars. And we can glimpse theirs. We know we all have fragile spots, but there we are, walking around, bumping into each other but trusting all over again, shining with our forgiveness and love.
Yes, I’d rather risk breaking things (and myself) than protecting myself from all the fun and excitement.