When Simon and I got married, we got the most beautiful glasses from John Lewis. They were made from the loveliest recycled green glass, and I loved them so very much. They were my dream glasses. We had three sets – wine glasses, juice glasses, and highballs. Three sets of 8. That’s 24 glasses.
Would you like to guess how many of these glasses we have now?
I’ll give you a hint.
That’s right, folks. Out of 24 glasses, we have broken all but one. I could give you a rough percentage of those that were the fault of Simon’s large hands compared to my dainty ones, but I won’t. Ahem.
Suffice to say, there have been about a thousand occasions that I’ve heard, in my head at least, a stereotypical mom phrase. Thankfully, I’ve never actually let it slip past my lips.
But yes, every time one of those glasses broke…
And when I dropped the Christmas snow globe my grandmother gave me…
And when my duckegg blue Vietri soapdish smashed in our bathroom sink…
And a hundred other times…
I thought it. Loudly.
“This is why we can’t have nice things.”
Confession: Sometimes when those nice things smash on the floor, I almost cry. (Once I did cry. Over the snow globe. I can’t talk about it.)
Recently, someone broke something of mine that I really, really liked. Something irreplaceable. It was absolutely an accident. And I would like to say that I handled it with grace and humility.
But I didn’t.
I fumed and rolled my eyes and moaned about it for days. Poor Simon. He was so tired of hearing about it. He’s a very patient man.
I was washing dishes the other day, and thinking about the smashed thing (I do some of my best thinking while washing dishes – which is God’s grace, really, because it’s the only thing that redeems dishwashing for me). As I thought about the smashed thing, the anger over it started to rise up in me again. And I heard that voice in my head say, “This is why you can’t have nice things. Because people smash them. People don’t take care of your things. They are clumsy with you.”
But as quickly as the lie came, the Truth cut through.
How many times has my Father let me hold something valuable, only to watch me lose my grip? Only to see it crushed in my clumsy hands?
If I had my way, I would lock all my nice things up in a cupboard. Safe and secure. And only let the people I’ve carefully chosen touch them. The ones who see just how valuable they are to me. And once you smash something, you are off the list.
But His grace is so deep and wide and high and long and, even though I’ve smashed a thousand of his most valuable things, He continues to lavish me with His goodness. His mercy. New. Every morning.
And because I want to be like my Father, I tell that voice that says we can’t have nice things to quiet down.
We can have nice things.
But in the end they are only things. And the hands that drop them – that set them down too hard on the kitchen counter, that pull them from the kitchen shelves, that lose their grip – they belong to the most valuable things our Father has given us. They belong to the ones He loves.