The Beauty of Imperfection

The Beauty of Imperfection

I dropped my bags, pulled open the curtains and saw this jaw-dropping view, a movie-like scene right before my eyes. The Mama Mia type beauty of a Greek island, minus the singing and dancing along the rooftops. My room with a view of Santorini. In my excitement to photograph this breathless beauty, I chopped off the top of the arch of the window. In the perfection of the scene, I created an imperfection. When I brought it in to my photo guy to enlarge it he said he could touch it up and create a top piece of the arch to go along with the sides, but in the end he felt it best to leave it as is. “It’s got character”, he said.

‘It’s got character’ has stayed with me and is actually a reminder of the struggle my daughter Nava went through during her year-long medical crisis. Her character marker is a small round indentation in the middle of her throat that is the remnant of the tracheostomy tube that kept her alive and allowed her to breathe until she became stronger and healthy enough to breathe on her own. It remains a visible testament to the fragility of life as a whole and to the power of the human spirit.

When a doctor suggested that the hole can be covered over with plastic surgery, I immediately said no; no elective surgery after all she had been through. I later read that actress Catherine Zeta Jones once said of her trach mark, “I wear it as a badge of courage.” This was and is certainly Nava’s badge of courage and resilience, reflecting her indomitable spirit and G-d’s decision to save her.

My work as a therapist became greatly informed by this idea of strength and beauty in struggles and imperfection; the idea of growth through pain and a new sense of wholeness to embrace.

The Japanese have an old art form known as Kintsugi where the cracks or brokenness in a piece of pottery are highlighted and fixed with gold laquer. The flaws become part of its history and story and is embraced in its wholeness. It’s not discarded but rather beautified.

In the Jewish tradition, one of the great Hasidic masters, the Kotzker Rebbe said, “There is nothing as whole as a broken heart.” In our brokenness we become whole by rising above our adversities, finding {new} meaning, reaching out beyond ourselves in empathy and compassion. Our heart swells and opens to others. We connect in pain and vulnerability. And we begin to heal and become whole, holding together pain and joy.

As Leonard Cohen sang, “There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.”



2 thoughts on “The Beauty of Imperfection

  1. Hi Harriet! What a joy to find your blog. I so appreciate the sentiment in this post and as I was reading it I was thinking of that Leonard Cohen song lyric! Such a good reminder to embrace the wholeness that we are. ~Kathy

  2. Harriet says:

    Hi Kathy, Thanks for stopping by. The human enigma – broken and whole; whole and broken. We hold them both together as human beings.

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