Wabi Sabi Love


This photo is one of my very favorites and was taken by James’s cousin, Jennifer McGroarty Hundt.

In the week that has passed since Andi’s and James’s wedding, I’ve had lots of time to reflect, to stare at all the beautiful pictures that evoke beautiful memories, to wish them every happiness and yes, as a mom, to wish to protect them from any heartache.

When Andi asked me if I’d like to do a reading at their wedding, of course I thought long and hard about what wisdom I wanted to share with them, in hopes it might soften any thorns on the otherwise rosy path they’ll walk together. Anyone who’s been married, or for that matter, anyone who has been in a long-term/life relationship of any kind, whether with a parent, a sibling or a spouse, knows everything isn’t always rosy.

So, I wrote about wabi sabi love–finding beauty in imperfection. Just because life isn’t always perfect, doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful.

Once upon a time, a beautiful young woman named Andi, met her Prince Charming. Little did she know (or maybe she did!) the handsome Prince James, would become the man with whom she’d live happily-ever-after. Yes, it seemed they had each met the person they believed to be their perfect match.
But wait.
Though we all wish Andi and James a fairy tale marriage, we also know marriage isn’t always happy and neither is it perfect.
So instead, I’m going to wish them a wabi sabi marriage. What’s wabi sabi?
It’s the Japanese philosophy of finding beauty in imperfection. Simple, slow, and uncluttered, wabi sabi reveres authenticity above all.
If any of you have perfectionist tendencies (Andrea) you might find the thought of beauty in imperfection an odd concept. But if you try it, I think you’ll find that searching for beauty in imperfection, whether it’s in yourself, your partner or your marriage, will make you feel so much lighter than the burdensome search for perfection.
We all have our flaws, our cracks. And so will your marriage. But, as Leonard Cohen says, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
So watch for the light. Look for the light. Especially in the moments of darkness.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, (well, actually, it was in Japan) a peasant carelessly broke the beloved tea bowl of his shogun. So angered was the shogun that he ordered craftsmen throughout Japan to find a way to repair the bowl. At last, an artisan put the bowl back together, using golden lacquer to repair the cracks.


And the shogun was happy.
Centuries later, rather than being discarded because it’s broken or cracked, such pieces are treasured because of the belief that the breakage and repair are part of its history. This art form is known as Kintsugi. Its translation is “golden joinery.”
When something breaks or goes wrong, when one of you fails the other, beauty can emerge, whether as humility, compassion or even the funny way you may splash around in puddles of self-preservation. Just remember, the breakage and repair are a vital part of your history.
James and Andi, today you begin a golden joinery called marriage. In the years to come, look for the light that shines through the cracks, the wabi sabi—the beauty in flaws, mistakes, even pain. These, as well as the countless happy memories you’ll make, will all become a part of your beautiful history, as you commence your life together as husband and wife.
James and Andi with the wedding present I made for them. (Kanji for "wabi sabi." (The ribbon earrings Andi is wearing are a tribute to my mom, who used to like to adorn herself with ribbons as she opened her gifts.) :)

James and Andi with the wedding present I made for them. (Kanji for “wabi sabi.” The ribbon earrings Andi is wearing are a tribute to my mom, who used to like to adorn herself with ribbons as she opened her gifts.) 🙂

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This entry was posted in Life, love, Uncategorized, wabi sabi, wedding and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Wabi Sabi Love

  1. Well said, Jan.



  2. Dear Jan,

    This is stunning. And so true. Good for all of us to remember.




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