The vase breaks. The different pieces are scattered all over the floor and under the furniture. I grab a bag from under the sink and wet a rag. No one will yell at me. It’s just a vase. I’ll buy another one. Those painful memories make me squeeze my eyes shut for a moment. I am a child again standing by a sudsy sink and looking down on the floor at yet another glass.
It’s another glass or a plate. It’s a broken piece that has trouble healing each time. No amount of super glue is enough to put it back together again. My eyes lower and will not meet hers and her words deflect. I move inward to a place my soul can rest out of reach of those flashing eyes. My ears hurt.
The phone rings bringing me back to the present. I shoo the cat away from the broken glass and keep the dog in the living room.
“What are you doing?” My friend asks.
The rag sits on the floor. The large shards of glass poke through the plastic bag. Most of the smaller pieces stick to the wet rag. “Cleaning up. I broke something.”
“I’m surprised you didn’t swear.” She laughs.
“You sound glum.”
I hear cartoons in the background. “A little. Just thinking.”
More than the occasional dish broke in my family. A lot of things broke like communication, love, and integrity.
“You’re not thinking about them again, are you?” A child cries in the background. “Oh!”
“Yes.” I close my eyes and watch another memory. I see him frantically cleaning up spilled ice tea as she erupts into another rage. It didn’t spill on the floor; only on the counter.
“Are you still there?” My friend breaks through.
“I’m still here.” I sigh. “Gotta go though. The cat wants to play with the glass. Gotta clean this up.”
It takes less than a half an hour to vacuum and wash the floor. The smell of pine sol deodorizes the air. I drop the bag of broken glass into the trash. Broken glass like all broken things that cannot mend must stay in the trash. Trying to make sense of it all doesn’t help me grow. It’s best to buy a new vase and not try to fix the old one. Many of the broken pieces are too small to glue. New is better anyway. I walk over to a photo of Tony and me. He married me in 2003. Our relationship is tight. I love how we laugh over broken dishes. It’s symbolic of grace; grace in the big things and grace in the small things.
Christmas reminds us of the beginnings of Grace. Christ was born. How can we put into practice the giving of grace to others every day?