• Kelly Rodriguez

Warm & Cozy. And Cracked.

This cup.

A gift from my sweet husband and babies. Picked just for me.

It’s special because they gave it to me. And I like it. I do indeed feel warm and cozy when it’s nestled in my hands, giving off the steam of delicious coffee.

But alas, one day, in a quick and thoughtless moment of washing and rinsing it, I nicked the rim on the countertop and a small chip flaked off. Right over my “warm & cozy.”

No avoiding that chip.

It stares at me every time I turn the cup towards me…

At first I was disappointed; sad that I had ruined the gift from my loved ones, marred its appearance. But then I thought, “Wait, what?? It’s a chip – not broken or leaking or a danger to anyone. It’s just a little flaw that my cup now carries. Does that mean it has to be thrown away??” The answer to myself, of course, was NO, for Pete’s sake (whoever Pete is). It does not!

Just because it’s chipped does not mean it has to be discarded. Chipped and cracked things are only more fragile now. They just need to be handled with care. There is now a weakness that can become something more serious if mistreated. No longer useful.

Now I take care when handling it – not so careless as I wash it – and I check regularly that the chip has not developed into a crack. I still enjoy using my little cup, and my lips lift into a slight smile when I pull it out of the kitchen cabinet it calls home.

Why is it that when things and people we love become flawed, or a natural deficiency is revealed, we back up, shocked, ready to eliminate them from our lives. The flaw is unsightly, makes us uncomfortable. So we distance ourselves, relegating them to the back of the kitchen cabinet: out of sight, out of mind, out of use. Why do we insist that everything and everyone remain beautiful and whole. Perfect, even?

Why do we struggle so much to embrace the unexpected imperfection?

I must admit, every once in a while, for a brief moment, a little twinge of sadness flutters through me when I see that chip on the lip. I remember how the cup looked before.

But then I remember my daughter’s excitement as I opened the gift; how her face lit up when I exclaimed how much I liked it and couldn’t wait to sip coffee from it! The chip begins to fade…and as I sip my coffee from its imperfection I think about the love of my lovelies. Their love for me expressed through this gift.

God has given us such gifts; placed them in our hands for our delight and enjoyment. And sometimes they become flawed. They crack. The perfect child, the perfect marriage, the perfect job, the perfect church, the perfect project, the perfect friendship…marred. By sin. By their own misguided actions. Or by a careless world that casually dropped and damaged them without a second thought…cracked.

So how do we love a cracked thing?

Remember the Giver.

Let the gift, even in its imperfection, remind us of the Hand that gave it to us in the first place – for our pleasure, for our formation, for our delight. Let it spark affection in us for the Great,

Lovely One who sent the gift.

And let us learn to treat it tenderly, carefully, because it too is a reflection of the Giver.

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