advent, broken, grief, jan richardson, scars, suffering

Making Visible


Often when we try to repair something, we do it in a way that makes the repair invisible. One might put a patch on the backside of a hole in the knees of jeans so that the spot isn’t as apparent. When repairing a tear in a couch or chair, it’s done in a way that make the tear less noticeable. When there’s a hole in the wall, putty and sanding and paint make hole seem to disappear.

We don’t like to see broken things. We want the repair to make the brokenness invisible.

Many of us are walking around with invisible repairs. After reading a reflection from Jan Richardson this morning, I started to wonder what it would look like if our repairs were visible. In the creative world, this is called visible mending. Instead of trying to hide the tear with hidden stitches, the repair is blatant and visible for all to see. There is no hiding to be done.

sotak handmade

What if we could see the slow repair of our broken hearts? From the death of a husband or the death of a beloved pet or the loss of a home or the loss of a relationship. What if we could visibly see the work people have done to work through their pain and find some healing? What if the stitches were on the outside instead of hidden deep in our bones?

I imagine if my healing were visible on the outside…
There would be tear stains down my cheeks.
There would be a huge tear right above my heart.
There would be multiple layers of thread in so many colors stitching that tear together.
There would be a bandage around my head.

There would be the light of the moon reflected in my eyes.
There would be a soft light shining through those strands of thread.
There would be a slow disintegration of those bandages.
There would be lovely pattern coming through the tear stains.

What if we could see the stitches on the woman at the grocery store? On the driver who cut us off? On the laughing child or the grumpy man? On your mother and father? On your friend and neighbor? On the leader of our country? On the refugee seeking safety? How might seeing these visible stitches change the way we live?

I’m not sure there’s a way to make visible that which is invisible. At least not in this way. But, even if we can’t see them, the stitches are there. I promise. Every single one of us has them. We are all in the midst of repair of some sort — whether from our childhood or from yesterday. Can’t we be a bit more gentle with one another? Can’t we offer a little more grace?

Not everyone wants to be visible. Not everyone writes a blog or posts on social media or shares feelings with friends. It’s not possible for all of our worn down scars or freshly mended wounds to be visible for all to see. And, because of that, I think we are all called to kinder, more compassionate and grace-filled. This is my hope for the world. This is my hope for you.

Kintsugi art


4 thoughts on “Making Visible”

  1. An awakening happened within me a few years back. The importance of the resurrected Jesus to have the holes in this hands from nails and the piercing in his side. It is important for us to know they had a purpose and were part of who he had not become. They were not to be forgotten, or wiped away. The flesh was not to be made whole, because there is meaning in the holes, those piercings.

    As I read your blog, I was reminded of my awakening a few years back. It is funny to be reminded of our humanness, our brokenness when we are in a season of joy and laughter, a season of acting as if we are not broken or in need of something only God has to give. A peace that passes all understanding.

    Have a blessed Advent and Christmas this years.


    1. Thank you for sharing this, Jan. You’re right – Jesus didn’t hide his scars and wounds. He put them out there for his friends to see. He didn’t come back in a perfect body… but he came back whole in a new way. Beautiful reflections. Advent Blessings to you and your family.


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