The Chipped Cup

My brother gave me a set of two coffee cups years ago. Etched designs gave texture to the rich blue and brown tones. He made sure to point out the marked bottom where the artist signed, so that I’d understand they were collectables, not merely mass-produced mugs. I saved them for special moments keeping them on the top shelf.

Years passed, and I hosted a variety of short and long term residents in my home, helping people with personal and financial problems. One day I went into the kitchen to pour coffee and discovered one of the two cups missing. I hadn’t used them for a while, because they were special and kept them on the top shelf, out of easy reach for me, but not for some of my tall guests. My heart dropped a little when I realized another personal item had vanished, the breakage never acknowledged, the culprit difficult to identify. What was gone was gone.

The other had a chipped rim on the side I’d normally drink from, so after a few uses, holding the cup by its body, not the handle, I decided it was too annoying to adjust to the rough edge. I put it back on the top shelf.

Unlike the cup, I don’t put relationships out of reach even though personal habits may annoy. Our flaws mar each of us, unique people, signed by God, the designer. Continuing to engage with others requires knowing where the “chips” are and working around them.

We’re like that cup, still marked by God as his new creation, “treasures in jars of clay.” It’s easier to spot flaw in others, more difficult to recognize our own. I tend to excuse my rough edges and believe that adjusting to their flaws is harder than them accommodating me. Sometimes it’s a good reminder to drink out of a chipped mug.

Do you?


1 Comment

  1. Thank you for the reminder that my chips are in God’s hands.

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