Monday, April 25, 2011

Tea Cups on the Shelf

I am a china junkie, I confess.

Do you have cups or plates you rarely use? What happens to those pieces on the shelf or packed away in boxes? While the risk of damage and chipping from use is minimized, they age in time just the same -- only without any enjoyment of them in family mealtimes. So, of what value are they, really?

The passing of time and changing temperatures affect even sturdy, furnace-tested china and porcelain. Cracks appear on the most prized pieces. Their beauty emerges notwithstanding these traces of use and age. Crazing appears as fine, spider-web lines on the surface of porcelain, leaving it with a beautifully crackled finish. Some so-called imperfections can actually increase the value of a piece.

We, too, assume a well-worn patina as we move through life.

There glows a beauty all its own in a peaceful, gentle countenance, a loving voice and a kind gesture, no matter what age we attain. So maybe we trade youthful sparkle for a mature luster. And on the days where we neither feel nor see much gleam on the surface, hang in there. Don't focus on the cracks.

Though imperfect, we still remain more than fit for our purpose in this life.

I do not want to be wrapped tightly...put on a high shelf...packed away safely from light and heat. I would rather be brought into service...put on the front lines...and used up for this thing called life.

I'll take the cracks and crazing, the inevitable chips and dings, and risk the painful breakage that occurs when we live with abandon. Crazing and wrinkles most surely accompany life and experience. May we learn how to age gracefully, and take a lesson from a tea cup overflowing with blessings.

My cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life... Psalm 23:5


  1. Yes! I know an older woman who defiantly used her "good" china every night for dinner, even when her children were young. She ended up with a few missing pieces to her set, but she loved knowing that her china was enjoyed. It was definitely a metaphor for the way she lived her life, as you described: "brought into service...put on the front lines...and used up".

  2. i love this comparison! i hope you had a beautiful easter celebration - wish we could have been with you :)

  3. i am visiting from the multitude on mondays link up at ann's blog. i love your analogy. rings very true for me with having 4 little boys and things getting damaged often when they are enjoyed. but a life lived is worth a couple dings. blessings!

    my recent post: when expectations come crashing down

  4. I just clicked over from Ann’s Multitude Monday, takes a while to get through them. And the older I get - the more I appreciate the cracks - I don't want to be packed up either - I want to be used. Then - on the other hand - Chins is so fragile - so I'm kinda torn. There - a definitive answer. :)This was a joy to read – thank you – and God Bless and keep you and all of yours this day Marita.