January 10, 2017

Breaking Things that are Fragile

Do you know the difference between peace and chaos? At my house this morning, it was a split second. The time it took for a bone china bowl to slip from my husband's hand as he was taking it out of the dishwasher. The bowl then clanged loudly against a ceramic souffle dish, causing both to shatter. 

The noise was enough to startle me and both our cantankerous aging dogs. In all fairness, our rescued Yorkie Ruthie is only five, not nearly old enough to be considered a senior citizen. But she and her recently adopted sister, Sweetie, a shelter chihuahua who might be upwards of 13, were startled nonetheless. 

We did what any good married couple worth their salt would do...got into a huge argument of course. If you can't tell, I'm being sarcastic. Even as it was all unfolding, I thought to myself this will definitely make it to the blog. Making matters worse, my husband picked that moment to yell, "Well I guess now you're going to write mean stuff about me on your blog!" 

Who knew mind reading was a skill of his? 

No, but really. He completely supports me and my desire to share certain stories online. And I would never set out to write anything mean about him (or anyone). Usually he is involved in the stories I tell, but it's all about our learning together...working together and trying to be better, together. It's not about fault-finding. But truth finding. To gain wisdom, and understanding. 

I wasn't even mad that the bowl(s) got broken. In the past, I would have been. This is something I'm making a conscious effort to work on. Not getting my feathers ruffled about things that don't really matter. Two broken dishes? In the grand scheme of life, the world, rapidly melting glaciers, starving children, war and other terrible things, two broken dishes are not even the tiniest fraction of a blip on anyone's radar. 

But my husband expected me to get mad. And I guess he had every right to, based on how I have reacted to these types of things in the past. So he got defensive. And this led to our misunderstanding each other, which led to the fight. 

But it didn't take long for us to talk it out, work it out, hug it out, and so forth. 

All of this reminded me of the fragility of things. That when you use things daily, like china bowls, or Royal Doulton souffle dishes, there's a good chance they might get scratched, chipped or even broken all to pieces. 

The bowl was nothing special. One of seven like it that I'd picked up from the clearance shelf at Belk. No local stores carried the bowls that came in our china pattern, so I found a suitable substitute for a steal. This is actually the second of these that has been broken, so now I think we're down to five. But I wasn't particularly attached to them. 

The souffle dish was more unique. My mom had purchased it from an estate sale and given it to me as a gift. If you're thinking I don't seem like the kind of person who makes souffle, you'd be correct. We have used the bowl for serving side dishes, salads, and even my husband's occasional late-night cereal habit. So yeah, if you'd ask me if I wanted you to smash it with a hammer, I'd have said no. But even so, having it get broken was not that big of a deal. 

This is the risk we must take when we put our valuables to use. Daily handling, the routine maintenance and care they require, and storage of them may cause them to be destroyed. Well at least certain types of things. 

The good news is that with our inner valuables, unlike our dishes or knick knacks, they are much stronger and harder to break. While I can't promise you won't find yourself staring at them in pieces on the floor, I know for sure that they don't end up in the garbage. When something inside you is shattered, this is a loss for sure. 

But it's only a loss in terms of what you knew. When it comes to our most precious things, nothing can ever really be lost from us. These things might change shape, or take on new forms, but what's at the heart of them is always there. As if it were deep inside our bones. 

I'm actually writing a book about this very thing. Well, trying to write a book. We'll see how it goes. I thought maybe if I put it out there and shared this fact with you, it might hold me more accountable. My book writing has gotten pushed to the wayside lately. But it's a new year, and I'm hoping to be able to bring it back to the forefront. Say a little prayer for me it crosses your mind. 

Happy 2017 friends!