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The Broken Japanese Shamisen Player

I broke my Porcelain figurine this morning. The figurine was made in Occupied Japan. He is holding a Shamisen.  I treasured the ornament. It fell off of my nightstand and hit a rock.  I collect rocks, and the rocks were under my nightstand.

I don’t have broken things in my life. If a plate breaks I throw it away. I will not glue together something that is broken. I do not want to see something that is damaged. I do not want to be reminded that something bad happened. I only want objects in my life that are complete, whole and undamaged.

I walked over to the garbage can to throw away the broken ornament. As I was about to place it in the garbage can I noticed a small dot of gold paint on the top of the figurines hat. I felt sad for the musician who was made in Occupied Japan. I did not want to throw it away.  The statue had value. I placed the top piece back on the bottom of the figurine, to see how noticeable the damage was. From the front of the statue you could not see it was broken, but from behind there was a chip missing.

I am the broken figurine. I want to be fixed. I want to be repaired and glued back together.  I do not want to be discarded because I am broken. I do not want to be thrown away because I am not perfect.  When I was standing by the garbage can holding the statue I thought of the song, or was it a bible verse? about God heals the broken-hearted.

I will glue the musician who was made in Occupied Japan back together. I will place him on my nightstand as a reminder that God healed my broken heart, and bound my wounds. I will not throw away the statue. The chip missing on the back of the figurine will remind me that my wounds are bound.

I will also move my rocks.

About Pamela Hodges

I write slice of life stories to help you know you are loved, valuable and worthy just as you are. I am a writer, an artist, and a cleaner of seven litter boxes. I live in Pennsylvania with one husband, four cats, one dog and two birds.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • A simple, elegant metaphor that allows the reader a lens through which they can consider their own relationship with objects. Glad to be reading your writing again after a few months of crazy school-year-ending business.

  • Pamela, I just was visiting a few more posts from yesterday, & wanted to thank you for your wonderful comment to my post. I didn’t realize I would find a life’s lesson in your writing. I worried at the beginning because I thought you were going to throw that special statue away, but then you re-thought your decision. I was happy! As others above said, everyone has chips, and more than one, but we all do what we can to make the best of our lives, even with the chips. Thank you for sharing this powerful story with us.

  • Wow! so many times I only see the chip, not the value.

  • Wow, Pamela. And here I thought this was just going to be a piece of writing about something you threw out. Boy was I wrong. This is an incredibly powerful piece of writing with a message that can resonate with us all. None of us are perfect. We are all broken, but in different ways (some in superficial ways and some physically). But the beauty is that we keep moving on in order to repair, heal, and transform ourselves.

    • Pamela Hodges

      Thank you Stacey. I never thought of other people being broken. I tend to compare. And I always think that others have no chips missing. I like the idea of moving on in order to repair, heal and transform.

  • writekimwrite

    Broken then mended…our lives…our God…hallelujah! Beautifully captured Pamela.

    • Pamela Hodges

      Thank you Kim.

  • lee

    I found myself rooting for the little guy up until you changed your mind. He now has a great story for you to share over and over. He is worth more now than before.

    • Pamela Hodges

      Yes, I love the Japanese figurine even more now than before. I am happy you were rooting for him.

  • This is a very powerful piece that I suspect reflects a little bit of healing that happened today. Perhaps God’s hand really did allow the muscian to “break” to send a message. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Pamela Hodges

      Thank you for your prayers. God can teach me when I leave a delicate figurine on a table that wobbles when I back into with my chair, and it topples and breaks on my rock collection beneath the table. He is teaching me to move my rock collection: to not put anything fragile on the table, and that he loves the brokenhearted. A good day.

  • nancy

    Your post reminds me of that worship song…’He makes beautiful things out of us’ (Gungor). You would love it. I used to always try to glue pottery back together when it was broken by one of my children. It always would make us feel better. xo nanc

    • Pamela Hodges

      I will try and find the song. Thank you for the suggestion. Fixing broken things with your children. A kind loving mother. Thank you for your comments.

  • I am glad you did not throw away the figurine. I hope having it still there in its place will be a comfort to you as you reflect on brokeness and healing. A figurine forged in a time and place that was broken does have value on so many levels. Again your writing causes the reader to reflect. Your words are like dots of gold paint, reminding that value remains, even when we are damaged by life. We may always have a chipped spot in our heart, but we are embraced by a loving God, held together- and given gifts, like the musician’s shamisen (and your words), that when shared, will touch and bless others. Thank you for sharing. Be encouraged. You are encouraging others.

    • Pamela Hodges

      I am encouraged by your kind comments. The figurine is still in two pieces sitting on the table by my bed. I will glue it back together. I am happy I kept it, because it reminds me of my value. God loves me, even though I am not perfect.

  • Did you know that we all have chips? But not everyone has a heart like yours, which, though it has been broken, it is full of love and concern for others. I am glad you did not throw the statue away. There is a kind of beauty in imperfection, and in wounds that are bound. It makes us more real, less out-of-touch.

    • Pamela Hodges

      Sometimes I feel like I am the only one with chips. Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone. Beauty in imperfection. I like that. I want to be real.

  • Thank you for this story. I wonder what I can keep by my bedside in order to remember to:
    love my broken self
    work to glue myself together
    expose chipped places to God
    and move away from rocky shores.

    • I was reading all the comments here planning to write mine, and I figured I couldn’t do any better, so ditto here. I’m so happy you decided to keep the figure and to offer it your own broken healing. We all need to do that to others sometimes, so I add to Wakeupandwrite’s pledge:
      Work to heal the hurt of others.

      • Pamela Hodges

        Thank you for commenting Margaret. I am always delighted to have you read my writing even if just to say you agree with the others who have commented before you. I always hope that my writing will help to heal the hurt of others.

    • Pamela Hodges

      I like your summary. Did you find something to put on your bedside table to remind you? I wonder what the rocky shores are in my life that I need to move away from?

  • I used to live in Japan. One of the first instruments I was introduced to was the Shamisen. The music teacher gave me a brief lesson how to read the music and play. I will never forget that (among other things).

    I know how good it feels to be mended and to be made whole. It’s always good to remember how life was before God made us whole. We should never forget.

    • Pamela Hodges

      Yes, I do not want to forget. What did you do in Japan? How fun that you learned how to play the Shamisen.

      • My husband was assigned there with the Air Force during the early 90s. I had the wonderful opportunity to teach English conversation in a Japanese Middle School and hold English conversation club in the elementary school. Best experience of my life.