Yesterday after work, I was walking out to my car, holding my favorite coffee mug in my mouth while I fastened the top button of my coat. Before I could fasten the button, the mug slipped from my teeth. I dropped my hands to catch the mug and frantically juggled it for a few seconds before it fell to the concrete and shattered.
I crouched and held my head in my hands, looking through my parted fingers at the broken pieces of my favorite mug. The grief that struck me made me realize what a precious thing it was to me. It was a gift from my friend Judy after I was baptized in July. Not only was it a pretty mug, with a tender, uplifting message elegantly printed on the side, but it had a handle that fit my hand well, and it held just the right amount of coffee, enough for drinking before it grew cold.
When I put the clean dishes in the cupboard, I made sure this mug went into the cupboard last, because it was usually the first mug I used. Just a few days earlier I had shown it proudly to my girlfriend. She could have disapproved of or taken issue with anything I’ve written, my mind and soul poured onto paper, and it would not have bothered me as much had she not approved of that mug. It was more than a simple mug, it was an extension of me, my late coming to Jesus, and my close friendship with Judy that I did not appreciate until it was gone.
What a fragile thing, my coffee mug, and how careless I had been in breaking it. Would that I show more care toward the things I treasure in this world, which are more fragile than they seem. I’m thankful for that mug and for the kind woman who gave it to me.
The maker of the mug is Abbey Press, based in St. Meinrad, Indiana.
Further reading: Rod Dreher reflects on breaking his favorite coffee mug, a remarkable coincidence.