brokenness

Today our children were singing at the front end of a violin concert nearby.  We were getting set up, and I headed off across the next door field in search of a drink at a vending machine.  I stopped suddenly, transfixed by what I saw half-buried in the dirt below.

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I have gotten really used to the broken pottery that can be found in this whole region where we are living.  It was created and left behind by the 2011 tsunami, and still litters many fields, gutters, and driveways around here.  Our kids during the concert’s intermission brought me handfuls of the stuff.  My youngest came in panting, holding out his grubby hands and exclaiming, “Mommy!  More jewelry!”

Much of our lives right now are all about this broken pottery, as we are working with the Nozomi Project.  A social enterprise comprised of 18 local women, we are making beautiful things out of what is broken.  All day long I have the incredible pleasure of seeing lots of brokeness… becoming beautiful….

project nazomi_by renee booe -6 copySo I’m not sure why, two years and lots-of-broken-pottery-since our move up here, this one piece really got to me. But it did.

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I picked it up, and then kept walking.  And fingering this piece of brokenness.  I think it had been a tea cup.  I looked around me.  There was a 3 story apartment building, a few homes, but mostly now-empty fields that used to be adorned with houses, which had been filled with grandmas and working dads and housewives and children running and playing. And their kitchens were filled with rice bowls…. and beautiful platters… and tea ceremony cups, and….  I wondered the story of this tea cup.  Who had bought it?  whose thirsty lips had sipped from it?  what had this piece of teacup experienced three years ago?  and where, oh where, is its owner today?

This piece – it is the perfect shape for making a beautiful Nozomi pendant.  I decided then I do not want to have this piece cut symmetrically, ground down smooth, with a bail placed on it, and strung with pearls and beads.  Not all broken pottery becomes beautiful, despite our desires.

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