A word we hear often today is that someone is ‘broken’. They’ve experienced a catastrophe, perhaps a betrayal, a bereavement, or something else that has left them heartbroken, feeling shattered and worthless.
In our book, ‘Dementia from the Inside: a doctor’s personal journey of hope’, Dr Jennifer Bute describes the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with costly gold or silver, making it more beautiful and of greater worth than before. The value of the pot comes from the precious elements that are gluing it together. It’s the art of Kintsukuroi: to me it’s a picture of the grace of God poured into His people.
If you’ve read the book you’ll know that Jennifer was a senior doctor in a large practice and a Fellow of the Royal College of GPs (FRCGP) when she developed dementia. Her life, her future plans were shattered. But to her, ‘Kintsukuroi is a wonderful picture of how God has poured his love and grace into my life to hold it together, making it more beautiful and giving it greater value.’ She now helps others in the dementia inclusive retirement village where she lives; teaches about dementia; is on TV and radio, gives talks and lectures around the country and is consulted by professionals on best practice and understanding. She is unique: an incredibly strong, authentic voice for people with dementia. In the book are the key points in understanding and helping people with dementia.
It’s also an allegory of how we can all pour love and care and acceptance into the lives of those around us, making them more beautiful. No matter how cracked or broken their lives, we can show they are of immense value.
It’s how people with dementia are cared for in Pilgrim Homes. I think of a pastor who made a round trip of 90 miles two or three times a week to spend time with his beloved wife living with dementia in our Evington home. He said he had peace knowing that she was valued and cared for so lovingly. He, too, felt broken in pieces, but God’s grace was at work and he became more valuable than ever, ministering to other residents in the home, some of whom had very few visitors.
The book, ‘Dementia from the Inside, a doctor’s personal journey of hope’ is available from usual suppliers, and from our website: www.pilgrimsfriend.org.uk