Kintsugi is the Japanese art of pottery repair in which gold dust mixed with lacquer or resin is used to fill cracks and gaps created by missing pieces. Certainly a transparent adhesive could be used to put pottery back together when it smashes to bits. It might even look as though it had never cracked, until upon closer inspection the scars that are hidden can be seen. The mended imperfections, revealed, might lessen its value.
With kintsugi, fractures are not disguised. The repairs are not meant to bring an object back to perfection, but rather to emphasize the journey. The result is an object that in its brokenness, is reborn.
Four years ago next Wednesday marks the day that the tragedy of 12/14 shattered this town and families. But day by day, just as kintsugi returns a vessel to a changed perfection, we have pieced together a new version of our town and its people.
It is through the powerful example set by those most affected by the tragedy at Sandy Hook School that Newtown has been able to act as an example of resiliency to the world. Foundations in the names of those killed that day have contributed to positive actions to better this world, to incite love, to bring to the forefront issues of mental health and social isolationism that contribute to hate. Movements intended to change a culture of violence have sprung up, and education for young and old has created a new awareness and respect for the challenges faced by every one of us.
We are more aware of how fragile our society is and how vital it is to be attentive to that fragility. We know now that a certain vigilance is needed to protect all that we most value. We see that being whole is a condition that must be nurtured by all, and when that wholeness is threatened, we have the tools of love, hope, and faith to make the necessary repairs.
It has taken careful handling by many to fasten the sharp edges of that day one to another, to reorganize the shards into a recognizable shape.
Still, there are pieces missing from the vessel that is Newtown that will never be recovered. Even an extraordinary amount of gold dust resin cannot fill those gaps. We are a broken version of what we were prior to December 14, 2012, but as we mend, it is with a new strength that tells the story of what has been.
In our perfect imperfection, we will never forget.