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Ellen Mongan recalls how she learned to mend broken friendships God's way.

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum ... As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. (Wikipedia)


Deacon Pat and I have been studying forgiveness this year. It is one of those simple truths of our faith that once unpacked becomes complicated. Forgiveness is a matter of the heart. We have learned the greater the offense, the greater the restitution. Forgiveness does not come in a one-size-fits-all dictionary explanation.

When a relationship is broken it, too, needs mending. The mending of a relationship always changes it. It could become better or worse. Mending a broken relationship can make it stronger or weaker. Sin breaks our relationship with God, with others, and sometimes ourselves. Have you ever had a broken relationship with a sister, a family member, or a friend? Like the broken bowl or plate in the kintsugi tradition, you both need Christ’s love to heal the broken parts of your hearts.

Suzie and I met in a mall. We exchanged numbers and I gave her a call. When I discovered that she was new to our area I hosted a luncheon with a few of my close friends so Susie could meet them. Susie and I became fast friends. We had a lot in common, a large family, a love of our Catholic faith, and children of the same age.

One day I was taking a group of kindergarten girls out for ice cream after school. When Susie walked into the classroom. I invited her little girl to come along. The only problem was Susie had two little girls. I was taking five girls already, so I did not offer to add a three-year-old to the group. I thought that she would understand that my hands were full and I was pregnant. To my surprise, Susie became indignant and did not let either of her children go. Instead, she stomped out of the classroom. I became confused as to what had transpired. 


two women arguing


Later in the day, I took the incident to prayer. I am sure Susie did as well. It was clear our relationship was broken. Being the wiser of the two of us Susie chose to bring the incident to wise counsel. With an older woman, Mary, present, we could work out our differences and mend the relationship.

Instead of being grateful, I was even more confused. Why would she involve an older woman in such a trite incident? Besides from my point of view, I could not fathom what I could have done wrong? I had invited her child to ice cream? How could she have been offended?

At home, I filled my husband’s ears with complaints. “What did I do wrong?” I questioned. I rehashed the entire scene over and over again. My husband was listening but I could tell he was just being polite. “Besides “I continued, “Mary does not even know my side of the story, just Susie’s.”

After a restless night’s sleep, I awoke ready to face the relationship problem. I swallowed my pride but took a few of my gripes with me, so I would be ready to defend myself. I arrived at Mary’s home fully prepared to talk it out. To my surprise, it was only Mary and I present. “Where is Susie?” I asked.

Mary’s next words healed a hurt that had almost taken residence in my heart. She said, “I wanted you to tell me your side of the story before Susie arrives.“ Tears welled in my eyes, as I discovered why Mary was held in such high esteem as an older woman.

When Susie arrived, my heart was open for Jesus to heal the hurt. Mary was able with a listening ear and wise counsel to help us see each other’s side. Our broken relationship was mended than cemented with Christ's love. He filled the broken crack with gold.


bowl mended using kintsugi technique


"Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver but the other is gold.” Susie and I will always have a golden relationship because we took the time to mend our differences God’s way.


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Do you have any relationships that are broken and need a touch of God’s love to mend? #catholicmom

Do you have any relationships that are broken and need a touch of God’s love to mend? God is near to the brokenhearted. He heals those who are bowed down.

One day we will all stand before God and account for our words and the actions we have done while here on earth. Our hearts will be examined by the God who made us and died for us. It will be too late to give excuses, cry buckets of tears, or repent and repair. God wants us to be at peace with all men. Now is the time to mend your relationship.

The Easter message, so present at the Cross, is a message of love and forgiveness. Bring your brokenness to Jesus and He will repair those cracks with “gold”!

Copyright 2021 Ellen Mongan
Images: Canva Pro