Mended Souls, Better Than New


A friend who is a sexual abuse survivor loaned me Renee Fredrickson’s Recovered Memories to help me be a better ally and represent these issues more accurately in my creative writing. I’d like to share these words from the book’s final chapter, as an inspiration to anyone recovering from trauma.

On display in the Freer Museum in Washington, D.C., are ancient Zen ceremonial bowls renowned for their delicate beauty and fine craftsmanship. Over generations of use these lovely porcelain bowls became cracked and chipped, and some had whole pieces missing. Rather than being discarded or devalued because of the damage, the porcelain was repaired with gold. The gold adds strength, beauty, and value to the bowls, and the sacred bowls are marvelously enhanced by the repair process.

So it is with survivors. You were damaged as you grew up, and the more abusively you were handled, the greater the damage. When you undertake to repair this damage, you replace bitterness and sadness with understanding and healing. You become stronger and more resilient when change comes. You grow kinder to yourself and more compassionate toward those you love. You, like the sacred bowls, are enhanced rather than diminished by the repair process. (pg.225)

(See images of repaired Zen bowls here and here.)

2 comments on “Mended Souls, Better Than New

  1. Hank Rodgers says:

    You are so right, Jendi. And I think that we waste too much time if we stoop to blaming our parents or others for our problems, because they were just reacting to their own, as best they could. The point is to keep trying to improve our own experience in what we pass along to our children and our other influences, so that each generation understands the previous one, and the possibilities for improvement, better than we did.

  2. A beautiful post. It can apply to all of life and all of life’s wounds, as well as to those who have suffered sexual abuse–although especially important for those who have been through that to see the “gold” within themselves. Thanks, Jendi!

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