The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Friday, January 14, 2011

Wabi-Sabi World ... Embrace It

This ceramic creche from Mexico came to us in a wabi-sabi state with pieces broken.
They are mended but cracks remain.
A couple weeks ago I had the privilege to hear Japanese American missionary Nelson Hayashida speak of his faith and experiences in Zambia where he and his wife Sandra are developing the Zambia International Theological College. He talked about a lot of things in life being worn and out of true, skewed in one way or another ... or cracked in such a way that light was let through, as when a pot is cracked. He spoke of mini buses in Zambia with frames twisted that drove past you down the road a little crooked. He spoke of tin roofs with tiny holes worn in them that let the sunlight in.
Now, in the United States, these are things we would throw away and replace with a new and whole item. Yet, Nelson told us, the Japanese see these things differently. They call them "wabi-sabi" and such items are respected. They are appreciated.

Then Nelson did a tricky thing that drove his point deeply home. He said all of us are wabi-sabi too. He spoke of Mother Teresa with her bent back and deeply wrinkled face. She was wabi-sabi ... and when her journal came out many were shocked to find out how wabi-sabi she was. I imagine the Japanese only appreciated her more with these revelations of her nature and her struggles. I know I do.

We are cracked vessels. That is a good thing because through the cracks we let in the light of God's love for all of us. We are cracked vessels that are deeply, truly loved by the creator of all wabi-sabi things. If you look to the Bible, you'll find all of God's prophets and Jesus' disciples were wabi-sabi folk. That gives us permission to be wabi-sabi ourselves and to appreciate the wabi-sabi nature in others. When we do so, we just might be able to relax a little more around each other (stop struggling for a vision of perfection we create for ourselves and can never reach ... just take a look at ancient Greek and Roman statues of the human form if you don't believe we do this) and appreciate the wabi-sabi nature we all share and that God loves so much.

With that message I began to see the aging and worn items I own differently and more importantly I began to see myself and others differently.

Have a wabi-sabi day ... and enjoy it.
Here you can see some of the cracks that let the light in. We love our wabi-sabi little creche, even more now that we've heard and appreciated Nelson's message.

No comments: