Updated: Jul 21, 2021
Person A: “Take a plate”
Person B: “Okay”
Person A: “Now throw it on the floor. What happened to it?”
Person B: “It broke.”
Person A: “Say sorry to it.”
Person B: “Sorry.”
Person A: “Did it go back to the way it was before?”
Person B: “No.”
Person A: “Do you understand?”
A typical heartbreak post.
A typical feeling of total and utter brokenness.
A typical feeling of hopelessness.
A typical feeling of loss.
A typical feeling that you will never be as you were before, no matter how much that person apologizes to you. It’s a true scenario. When someone breaks your trust or pains you in such a way that the plate of your heart simply breaks, your trust is diminished, your faith in humanity is dulled, it seems that nothing will return to the way it was before. You’ll feel like you’ll never smile as you did before or laugh till your belly aches again. You’ll feel the world lose its taste of happiness as you know it, and depending on the severity of your pain, you may consider revenge or even suicide of the body or soul. You may build walls thick and hard as mountains that no one can cross. You may walk around people, weary and terrified of what opening up might do to you again. You may seclude and distance yourself from everyone, and as the cherry on top, you’ll get to a point where you’re wearing a masked smile. A fake smile. You’ll wake up every single day dreading the burden of having to go through another 24 hours. And you may or may not show your misery. Maybe you’ll be a good actor, and tell yourself you can “fake it till you make it.” Maybe you’ll get tired of acting or don’t wanna act to begin with and you’ll appear dull and sorrowful to everyone who comes in your way. All because they broke that plate.
Unless you choose to hand them a new plate.
Now, some people will take every new chance at a new slate and break it and crush you over and over again, thus it would be extremely unwise to continue completely subjecting yourself to that pain of breakage. Eventually, you’ll just run out of plates to give out. However, even if you don’t have any more plates to give, you can pick up your broken pieces and mend them together. Not for them, but for you.
The Japanese people have a certain art called Kintsugi. This is the art of putting back broken pottery pieces with gold, and it’s usually a symbol or gesture to teach people to embrace their flaws. But we can also look at it through the eye of forgiveness. When you forgive and mend your broken pieces, surely that is more beautiful than letting them remain shattered on the floor, just as the pottery with golden cracks may turn out even more beautiful than what it looked like originally. A natural part of life is being wronged; it’s human to mess up, and the world is full of humans. However, as St.Paul said, “we are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor 4:8-9). No one can destroy you. You’re the child of God. Remember that “the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him” (Daniel 9:9). Although extremely difficult, following the example of Christ will free you from the bonds of anger.
Without forgiveness, you carry burdens and loads beyond imagination. Your soul will turn into a heavy sack that drags behind your back, weighing you down, crushing you. When you don’t forgive, you’re the one who loses. You’re the one in pain. The person you’re mad at goes on living their everyday life as if nothing ever happened. And you’ll sit there, in anger and anguish that seems to never end.
So let go.
Forgive people the same way you’re certain God forgives us when we come repenting, even if they don’t come apologizing to you.
By Veronika Mousa
Servant of St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church Nashville TN.