I want an 8×10 print of a broken dish to hang in my kitchen. Or maybe an actual broken dish hung on the wall as a decoration. Because I need a constant reminder: it’s only a dish.
This little dish was part of a tea set that my daughter got for her 3rd birthday seven years ago. It’s a really cute little tea set. Was a cute little tea set.
It broke, obviously, when my kids were playing with it the other day. For some people, this is no big deal. Just toss it. Forget about it.
I wanted to toss it. Instead, I left it on the kitchen counter for a week, because I had to try to glue it back together. I had to at least try.
You see, I’m realizing that I have a really hard time letting things be broken. Just broken. Let it be broken and throw it away.
So after a week of staring at it, I threw it in the trashcan. And then I took it back out.
To take this picture.
I think this plate was a reminder to me that it’s okay to feel broken, to be broken, to let things be broken without having to fix everything and put it back together and make everything whole again.
I think some other people might feel like me sometimes. Like nothing should break. We have to keep it all together, in perfect balance, every day.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve got those plates in a balancing act, spinning on the top of sticks, and the plates are wobbling back and forth. At any moment they will fly off the sticks and smash into the floor.
And then, instead of sweeping up the mess and throwing it all away, I’ll sit down to glue all the pieces back together and make it look like it never happened.
I’m trying so hard to keep everything together.
I don’t want anything to fall apart.
I don’t want me to fall apart either. I can’t. I have too many people to take care of to let myself fly off the handle and break.
I feel a huge pressure to raise our kids right. I have to protect them and give them only the best experiences to they will grow up to be strong and healthy in every way. I have to serve the healthiest food three times a day and keep everyone’s teeth brushed twice a day and wash all the sheets once a week and make sure there are no crumbs on the floor because our town has a lot of crickets.
And the more time I spend on the computer, the more pressure I feel to keep my home perfect and orderly and beautiful like everyone else’s, even though I have five kids in a two bedroom house.
I try and try and then something breaks.
And sometimes I scream and cry or say things I regret. And–sometimes–I keep the Elmer’s glue coming and make it look like everything is fine.
It doesn’t mean I have failed.
Because life isn’t a great big test, and we are not going to receive a report card at the end of our life and get a 4.0 GPA in Motherhood, Home Keeping, Wifehood, Remodeling, Healthy Meals, Church Participation, and Emotion Control.
Is it possible that it’s good to be broken sometimes?
To toss something that we thought was so valuable but really wasn’t that big of a deal?
To reevaluate some of our expectations of ourselves and others?
To remember: it’s only a dish?
. . .
By the way, Andy finally tossed the broken plate in the trashcan, and I didn’t take it back out. I thought about it, you know, in case my pictures didn’t look good enough and I needed to take more, but instead I just
And I haven’t thought about it once since.
Not at all.
Not even one time about how I didn’t even try to glue it … and it might have worked.
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