We need our own Kintsukuroi

  • Published
  • By Maj. Oscar Fonseca
  • Deputy Wing Chaplain

As a chaplain, I have been very privileged to serve God’s people in uniform for over 10 years. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than to be able to listen to people’s story of life and share in their joys, successes and glories. I am also humbled to listen to their pains, their moments of uncertainty, trials and hardships that come with our busy military lives. Being a chaplain is truly a calling, a vocation, an honor in all ways. Chaplains take their calling to serve very seriously. We consider every life to be a precious gift, beautiful and unique, equipped with all kind of attributes and talents needed to succeed in life.

But oftentimes, life can show us its bitter side, changing so dramatically, becoming so difficult to handle, throwing us into a sea of confusion, hopelessness and sadness. We may feel heavily broken, down, and without the strength to fight. I believe that it is in this state of brokenness that we can arise again feeling stronger and fit to fight. This is when we all need our own “Kintsukuroi” experience to be brought back whole again.

One day, I was traveling to a little village in northern Japan, and I came across with this concept of “Kintsukuroi”: the art of repairing pottery with gold. During the repair, the object goes through a delicate process of restoration where all the cracks are filled up with gold. The Japanese believe that when an object is broken and has a history, once restored, it becomes even more beautiful. The new object is no longer broken but has been elevated to a higher beauty.

We all go through moments in life when we can feel so low and broken. We can be so damaged that we can no longer see how beautiful our life still is. We can feel so spiritually destroyed or defeated that we can no longer find peace and tranquility in our hearts. When we reach this point, it is time to fill up the broken pieces of our heart not with gold but with love, understanding and acceptance, recognizing our brokenness and be determined to move forward as a new creation, more beautiful and whole than ever.

As a chaplain, I can be an instrument in that process of restoration. I can be an instrument of hope and healing. A chaplain can mend a broken heart and assist to make it beautiful again. Chaplains can lead a life in deep distress towards a path of hope and joy.       

Certainly, things in life don’t always come easy; challenges emerge every day that either strengthen or debilitate us.  We all need our own “Kintsukoroi” to rebuild, to refine, to reshape, and start all over again with renewed spirit and faith. As part of the Misawa chapel team, our doors are always open, our time is your time, our love and commitment to serve are our gift to you. And again, we take this very seriously. God bless you all.