The Perfect Imperfection
One of my dearest friends is at that difficult stage in life where her mother is failing physically and mentally. Her family recently moved her mother into a nursing home, and gave my friend the opportunity to sort through her mother’s belongings, and take what she might like to keep. As she was sorting through some items in her mother’s buffet, she found a very unique tea set that she hadn’t seen in years. She immediately recalled where mother had the set displayed when she was child and was so excited to have the opportunity to bring it into her home. She carefully wrapped the teapot, sugar bowl and creamer in paper to prepare it for her journey home.
She thought about the tea set as she drove home, recalling that it had been in the family a long time. She thought it may have once belonged to her aunt, but it’s origin was that it was a gift from her grandfather to his mother. Needless to say, it was a treasure to her.
When she arrived home, she carefully removed the set from the box and unwrapped the tissue paper. She filled her sink with warm, soapy water and gently placed the fragile pieces is the water. She noticed that some of the gold had worn off and her imagination took her to a different era where perhaps the delicate pot was used to entertain guests on Sunday afternoons in the parlor. The ladies were in beautiful dresses enjoying a cup of tea with their biscuits, engaged in amusing conversation with their friends, while the gentleman were on the porch discussing their latest business pursuits.
She gently washed the sugar bowl, and as she ran her fingers along the porcelain, her finger came upon an unexpected ridge. She lifted the bowl, turned it over and gasped as she looked down upon the evidence of a repaired crack. The memory immediately flooded her mind as she recalled an evening long ago. She and her brothers were home alone and someone was rough housing in the dining room. The sugar bowl was knocked off the table and broke upon impact. It didn’t matter who knocked it, she was in charge of her brothers, and she would be blamed and punished for the incident. She was confident and fearful that the punishment would be severe, so she went into action. She located the Elmer’s glue and commenced. She very carefully glued the broken piece and put it in place on the bowl. She held it tightly together, blew on it, and watched the glue dry. She then took a damp cloth and wiped the excess glue away, then returned the sugar bowl on top of the buffet. She stood and stared at it. She casually “walked by” the buffet to see if she could notice where it was broken.The next day she carefully picked it up and felt where it was broken to see if she could notice where it was repaired. She was happy with the results. Over the next year or so she would pick up the sugar bowl and inspect it. Eventually she completely forgot the whole incident. Until…
She finished drying the tea set and let it sit on the kitchen counter. What teenager would have ever thought that as Elmer’s glue aged, it would yellow, or turn a brownish color? She congratulated herself for her success at being able to keep her mother from a major melt down, and smiled knowing her brothers must have been thankful their sister took care of the accident. It has been over 40 years alone since it was broken, the actual age of the set is unknown, but it is definitely a treasure. My friend was offered an opportunity to get the yellowed crack professionally repaired, to add to its value, but she opted to let it stay. To her, it adds another generation’s story and that value is priceless.
I love this story because it reminds me that emotional and physical scars always tell a story. It’s what we do with those stories that determine the value of the occurrence. I have suffered a fair share of trauma in my life, and yet I am confident that I would not be who I am today, or who I will become tomorrow had I not walked through those valleys. Not all wounds just vanish, but the memories that remain build our character and enable us to be more loving and compassionate with others. This is a significant step outside your circle of expectation. The scars you bear add to your story, your value…and you, my friend, are priceless in His sight. “I am sure what we are suffering now cannot compare with the glory that will be shown us.” Romans 8:18
“We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves Him.” Romans 8:28