Today I am Kintsukuroi

The Story

It was not that large a piece.

Not an obnoxiously large piece. That was the upside. And her father had always taught her to find the upside.

Now she wished her father had also taught her how to sanitize a foot with a piece of glass in it while halfway up a secluded mountain. But no, he’d been more the emotional-security-blanket type rather than the Boy Scout.

Which Maddie had actually been very thankful for her entire life up until the last 48 seconds.

Since she did not have either boy or girl scout knowledge though, she had to inspect the issue with the knowledge she did have: a part-time baker studying to be a bartender with a passion for writing and a half-finished course in flower arrangement. She was overly aware that none of this would help her with the current situation.

However, her inspection did yield that the shard was too far up her shoe (and foot) for her to pull it out without first painfully removing the shoe. She wondered if perhaps it being larger would have been good, so that she could get a better handle on it? But then it may have gotten farther up her foot. Or she would have seen it and missed it completely?

She decided the useless questions were panic setting in and sat back on the chilled earth to think let them run their course. It was no use plugging them up, they’d just be sitting there later, so come on then.

Why didn’t I see it? How did it get all the way through my shoe? I liked these shoes. If I can get it out will I be able to walk back down? When was my last tetanus shot? Like twelve? Kevin had to take one when he went to college. So if I’d gone to college I’d have a tetanus shot- can’t tell mom this happened then. Why do tetanus shots run out? But that’s metal, is there one for glass? What germs are on glass? Or will I bleed out before any germs can get to me? How do they find hikers up here? That’ll be so boring. “Dead Writer on Mountain” Oh God they’ll find my unfinished story. Wait what if they don’t, then I won’t even be a writer, just “Dead Girl on Mountain” or WORSE “Dead Waitress on Mountain.” Surely Preston will make sure they at least call me a baker? Will Preston be able to find another baker by next wedding season?

After her anxiety finally began to tire itself out, she rationalized that a piece of glass not big enough for her to see on the path was also not big enough to force her to bleed out. So she just had to decide whether to pull it out up here, or limp back down the mountain and deal with it from the comfort of her car.

She sighed and looked around her. The trees were gorgeous this time of year, spring had not quite sprung- just whispers of buds and the occasional trill of an excited Northern Cardinal. There were still echos of winter in the piles of dead leaves and lack of other hikers. These were the type of observations Maddie enjoyed making while on a hike.

Unfortunately, to be a smart hiker, they were not the only ones she could make. When Maddie had taken off this morning with a backpack of minor supplies, her favorite podcast pre-downloaded to her phone, and a prayer that her writer’s block could be broken with fresh air, she’d done her best to time smartly. Young single women should not have to fear the dark, but they also didn’t need to place themselves out in it unnecessarily. So at 2pm exactly, six hours after she’d settled on a large rock in the sun to write and snack, her alarm went off to the tune of Meghan Trainer’s No Excuses. Thus she began the one and half hour journey back down the small mountain road. About a third of the way down, she and the piece of glass collided.

Which meant there were some choices to be made, fractions to be done, and quickly. Maddie was not in a great mood to make guesstimations, but she really had no choice. Plus, writing things down soothed her. Out came the journal:

Option A: Stay here, fix foot

  • How long?
    • Take off later
    • Will be darker
    • Bad people, werewolves
  • With what?
    • It’s def gone through the sock
  • Will probs still limp back down path
    • This will make path down take longer
    • Will be darker
    • Bad people, werewolves

Option B: Leave, fix foot in car

  • Could get worse walking on it
    • Ow
    • Probs still need to wrap something around it?
  • Will probs still limp back down path
    • This will make the path down take longer
    • Will be darker
    • Bad people, werewolves

Maddie was no math wizard, but one “bad people, werewolves” was fewer than two. Limping it is. She did have some duct tape in her bag. It was a hold-over hobbit from an ex-boyfriend that thought the world could be fixed if you always had duct tape with you. And although ultimately he’d been useless, she’d found many a good use for the duct tape.

She snorted, imagining that ex did not expect her world-saving tape to be purple with leopard spots, but dang it that’s what she had!

Pulling a long strip from the roll, she gingerly wrapped the tape around the outside of her shoe. When she passed over the shard itself, she yelped at the pain of the glass moving inside her foot. For a second, her confidence in Option B was shaken.

But, like, moving backwards to Option A might hurt again and then be not as good. Should the journal come back out? Maddie took a deep breath, acknowledged that this was probably a little bit of shock kicking in, and decided to get going before the light changed again.

Allowing herself one more sigh, she stood up-


-and everything was fine. Back down the mountain, gingerly but surely, as the light is going down, with her plan.

The Word

KINTSUKUROI (noun): “Golden Mend” is the Japanese art of mending broken pottery using lacquer resin laced with gold or silver.

Recognize Maddie’s name? You’ve seen her before! She’s popped up in Today I am Simplicity and Today I am Metanoia, as well as a tiny cameo in Today I am Reconcile 🙂

I haven’t written in a while. Between my own personal history and the recent history of the world itself, it seemed there was little I could pull together that could sound more fictional than what was actually happening. But I think that was my own personal excuse for “block” and after a nice several-months chat with myself, I’m here. Hi. I’ve missed you!

Not to be too dramatic (HA!) but, I think we can all agree, that when it comes to our personal passion- whether it’s writing or engineering, teaching, research, what have you, a block is a lot like heartbreak. It’s a chasm between where you are, and the you that feels comfortable and successful.

And in that chasm, in that break, we find out this terrible secret that what we’re doing hasn’t been working. But good news: We have this chance to be remade, and remolded. As a Christian, I cannot help but see God’s hand in this, but I don’t think someone of any spirituality, science, or combination there of can deny- we are mended with something far stronger than what broke.

I mean, the break is going to happen. It simply is! We are like rules: made to be broken. Whether you’re looking at shattered hearts or ripped skin, we know how to knit ourselves and each other back together. And yes, it hurts and it sucks, and it takes sooo much time! There’s all this scraping and figuring out where the pieces fit back together and PANIC and oh-goodness-a-piece-is-missing-now-we-have-to-make-a-new-one and cursing and arguments and great-it-reopened-over-there and ow and forgiveness and more cursing and it doesn’t make any sense until we see a strange little glimmer, the hell is that? And-

and then. A deep, filling breath. Because that person in the mirror looks familiar again. Even a little better.

Yes, you do look a little better, a little more golden, to me.

I didn’t want to get Maddie down the mountain today. Because it’s not that easy. We don’t always get down the mountain in one day. Sometimes, we just get started. That’s all I did today: I just got started again, after a long time staring at that piece of glass I got stuck up my foot, wondering what to do. I’ll see you all on the way down 🙂

Goodnight, dear reader!