It’s that time of the year where the catch up sesh game is real strong. You’re running around meeting up with people who are dropping a visit in town, and encountering faces you haven’t seen in awhile at gatherings, reunions, and the like. Not sure if it’s out of common courtesy, or they actually care to know how you’re doing and what you’ve been up to, but the begging questions are always the same: “Hey, how are you? What’s been going on?”
Well, since they asked…
2015 was everything I had hoped it would not be. Life happened, and life happened so hard.
To be honest, I have to reflect and dig with extreme effort in order to draft up a list of everything that went down between January and December. And even then, it’s not quite cohesive enough because most of the year was a strange emotional blur.
I experienced heartbreak. The kind of heartbreak which stems from relationships that break and friendships you have no choice but to give up and let go of; where it feels like someone punctures a gigantic hole where your heart lies, pulls your organ out of your chest, and twists it around so tightly until every last drop of hope in your system is wrung out. The type of heartbreak that stirs up so much storm in you it produces literal pain, and there’s no other way to explain it other than saying, “my heart hurts.”
I suffered loss. The kind of loss that leaves you with nothing but hollowness, and forces you to question everything you once stood for and believed in. It was the kind of loss that challenges you to fully reevaluate who you are, and where your identity truly lies.
I spent months grieving and battling depression. The kind of grief that comes with mourning things so close to you; detachment from people and places you once knew so well. Where you’re in the kitchen contemplating what to whip up for lunch, and the cries begin to pour without any real reason other than unfathomable sadness. And the depression—it was the kind of depression that casts clouds of discouragement over your head, with a side of apathy where there is lost interest in everything you once found joy in doing. And, rising out of bed nearly every morning is nothing but an exasperating chore and it’s easier if you could just stay there. Horizontal. Hiding under the covers. All day.
I was disappointed, and felt like I had failed. The kind of disappointment that overpowers you when everything you crave to accomplish just isn’t working out the way you had imagined, with ghostly snickers mocking you of your so-called unproductiveness. Because, twenty-year old you thought you would be at a certain place by now in all the different aspects of life. But reality tells you that you’re falling a little (or actually, a lot) short.
Much of 2015 was spent sinking in the dark; but it was because of the darkness, that I began chasing light.
For the lovely humans that actually follow me on Instagram, it’s been more than just posting up a pretty capture or throwing together some nice sounding words to go along with the post. Most of the images that have been collected and shared in the past year were from vulnerable moments, where I set out on the road traveling and putting more miles than I probably should be on my little car chasing light, literally and figuratively—conversing with God through curvy mountain drives, vast ocean breezes, and downtown rooftop sun chases. They were necessary personal pep talks I needed for myself, not just for the world to read. And in that process, I came to the realization that the numbers in my bank accounts could measure neither life progress nor success. I could feel lacking in many ways and left with nothing, but still be called worthy and whole.
It was clear that God cared more about my soul and who I was to become.
I found peace. The kind of peace that transcends all understanding and can only be discovered through Christ, no matter the chaos or the tragedy or the hardships that life decides to sucker punch you with.
I learned more about myself, and about grace. The kind of learning where you begin to embrace imperfection because you are more aware of your humanness, and that your pasts and flaws don’t define you but rather, they are a part of your story. As for grace, it’s the kind of grace that you can trust fully in and rely on. It will rescue you out of the darkness time and time again, giving you a reason for living.
I was okay with not being okay. The kind of “not okay” where you don’t slap on a smile. Instead, you allow yourself the ability to feel deep emotions without having to justify them. I permitted myself to be angry, to be upset, to be sad, to just… be.
I experienced healing. The kind of healing that is slow and meticulous, like a shattered piece of pottery being carefully and precisely repaired with closures of gold.
Let me explain.
I came across this beautiful image of a piece of pottery in the beginning of 2015. I became immediately enamored by it, but didn’t know exactly why I was so drawn in. The image was followed by a short description, unfolding the process of Kintsukuroi: a Japanese art dating back to the 15th century, where craftsmen would take fragmented pieces of pottery and fasten them back together with gold seams. Perhaps I was so captivated because the idea of something destroyed and meaningless, being refined and made new was refreshing. I think we all desire that sometimes—longing to be made new because our bodies are frail and beaten from running this life race for too long. Or maybe I was mesmerized because after the course of rebuilding, the finished product with etches of gold would actually appear more aesthetically pleasing than the original piece.
The truth is: we as humans are susceptible to all kinds of wreckage and adversity. It’s inevitable. The world can be stone cold, and sometimes it’ll stay cold for what seems like an eternity.
Understanding that breakage and repair is a part of the history won’t take away the tears or the hurt or make everything better overnight. Rather, it beautifies it. What’s stunning about the process is that it helps to tell the story.
There is no attempt to hide or disregard the damage; rather, brokenness is illuminated and used.
If anyone had asked me several years ago if I fancied silver or gold, I would have selected silver in a heartbeat without one breath of hesitation. Because I used to squirm at the slightest indication of gold: a piece of gold jewelry paired with some sort of OOTD, a sprinkle of gold glitter on a handmade birthday card, or even a light touch of gold décor on the centerpieces of a wedding reception table. I would have told you that I would forever prefer silver instead of gold, because gold felt too bright and too bold and too attention grabbing; too wham bam in your face all up in your grill, shouting at the world to turn its heads. It would fiercely glow and prance around blatantly distinct. And all that, that was exactly what scared me.
2015 was where I truly began to learn how to embrace gold.
As the New Year approaches, I can confidently say this: I am allowing gold to seep into the cracks, clinching onto the promise that this severed piece of pottery can be continually be made new—a God-breathed, gold-filled kind of new.