December 8, 2016

Gold Filled Memories

When I was in 4th grade my church youth group made Mother’s Day presents.  The gift consisted of a simple white dish with elbow macaroni glued to the plate’s surface, topped off with an artificial red rose.  We worked on our projects once a week for about a month.  In the interim the plates were stored in the church kitchen. Some clever mice got into the cupboard and nibbled on the macaroni.  That was pretty disappointing to a bunch of 10 year olds.  Our youth leader saved the day and we covered our plates with gold spray paint.

Fast forward to November 2016 when I visited my mom. Hanging on her wall was the macaroni plate.  The paint had dulled a bit.  The chewed noodles were still visible. But that plate held its own – hanging there because it reminded Mom of a time long ago when her little girl made her a Mother’s Day present.


Mom’s Macaroni Plate









Kintsugi is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with gold. Most artists, me included, find flaws in our work. It’s the first thing we notice and it stands out like nibbled macaroni, begging to be camouflaged in some way.

The Japanese have a different philosophy. They see the flaw as an honest part of the piece’s history that doesn’t need to be covered up.  Instead of disguising the crack they emphasize it by filling it with gold. The restored piece is transformed into something more beautiful than the original.

I’m thinking there’s a lesson here for me to put into practice during the coming year.  I’m happy you’re part of the memory making journey.