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Musings on Imperfection

May 12, 2021 11:00 AM

Our family Opa (grandfather) passed away many years ago after living a wonderful, full life. He was 96.

He believed in working hard and he instilled the notion of teamwork and productivity in us. He was an amputee due to a WWII injury, but he never missed a minute of living a full and beautiful life. At my wedding, he danced with me. His favorite symbol was the honey bee. He even made official family letterhead with a bee on it.

A few weeks ago, I found a pair of perfect planters for some ornamental shrubs we planned to place at the entrance to our home. I loved them because each contained the emblem of a honey bee on the side. They reminded me of Opa so I bought them. They were enormous and beyond my lifting strength. So, a stronger family member offered to move them for me. In doing so, one of the pots broke. At first, I became very upset that the beautiful ceramic planter had been marred.

Then I remembered a concept I had learned years ago about creating beauty from something that is broken. Kintsugi (金継ぎ, "golden joinery") is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. I realized our broken pot would become more beautiful by making this repair. It would remind me of our Opa and my loved family member who helped me move something so heavy that I could not lift it alone.

Our Huntsman SportsFest is like Kintsugi. Runners, cyclists, walkers, and others rally together to help ease the burden on our cancer patients. They come together and raise much-needed funds for cancer research. And when they might lack the physical strength to run, cycle, or even walk, others can do this for them. Together, we share the burden of that heavy pot, too heavy for one alone to lift.

I hope you join us this year for this incredible event where we symbolize Kintsugi in action. The date is Saturday, June 12, at the University of Utah Fort Douglas Field.

Find out more about the Huntsman SportsFest.


Susan Sheehan
President and COO
Huntsman Cancer Foundation

Susan Sheehan

President and COO, Huntsman Cancer Foundation