The Beauty Of Broken Pieces

My mother was a bargain shopper. A wheelin-dealin’, card carryin’, bona fide, clearance queen. No matter if it fit or matched – if it was 65% off she could make it work.

I loved this about her.

Spring 2002, Brent and I were nearing the Big Day. We had spent hours registering for dinnerware, Tupperware, Corningware, underwear – if it ended in -ware we registered for it. We were quite proud of ourselves, I do say. Young, in love and so excited about our choices.

I remember the day well. The day mama came over after a trip to Belk. She and Mamaw had been shopping. Bargain shoppin‘.

“Look what I found on clearance. I bought you and Brent a set. These are Lenox.”

With a proud smile, she held up a box of dishes. Cream and country-blue, striped dishes. Yes, they were Lenox, but they were cream and country-blue. And striped. Not what I wanted or would have chosen.

Not wanting to pop her bargain bubble, I thanked her and thought to myself, I will shelve them and cross my fingers someone buys what is on our registry. And a few someones did. Friends and family bought piece after piece, completing the set of my chic and classy white dishes.

But come March 12, 2005, my chic and classy white dishes paled in comparison to the beauty of those cream colored Lenox dishes. That country-blue stripe had never been more meaningful.

To this day, mama is a part of mealtime. I like to think of her serving up oatmeal and cereal for breakfast. Macaroni and chicken at dinner. Those clearance dishes – now of intangible worth.

Last Friday night, after a lazy woman served up some Ragu and noodles to her three little boys, she turned to put a bowl in the sink. And the bowl slipped right out of her hand onto the hardwood floor. It hit just right. And broke into ungluable pieces.

I knelt and in slow motion picked up each piece.

Grant came behind me, “Was that bowl precious?”

Precious. His wording poignant.

“Yes, honey. This bowl was precious. My mama bought it for me.”

“Your mama Darlene? Wasn’t that her name? Darlene?” Ethan asked.

“Yes. Darlene.”

Ethan -“How do you spell that? D-A-R.. How does the rest go, mom?”

Her name sounded sweet in my home. And as I picked up the broken pieces of my bowl, the Lord picked up the broken pieces of my heart. Those little voices remembering the grandmother they never knew.

We talked of her Friday night. For a good long while. And I was thankful.

The brokenness of my bowl bringing back the beauty of her memory.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. Matthew 6:19-20

And she is there. A treasure awaiting me in heaven. Her embrace serving satisfaction that no cream colored, country-blue striped plate could offer.

One day, we will feast together again.

Not on discounted Lenox dishes, but on divine dinnerware, set for us at a the table of the Most High God.

A family reunion my mind can not conceive. My RSVP confirmed. A party I will not miss.

Until then, her memory lives on. I see her in the smiles of my children, in the clearance aisle at Belk, in the three Lenox bowls left in my kitchen cabinet.

And in the quiet places of my heart.

7 thoughts on “The Beauty Of Broken Pieces

  1. Oh what a beautiful post, so honoring to your mother and your God! Your children are blessed that even though they didn't know their grandmother, their mother is passing on her life to them. So precious! Have a great week.

  2. I have a dish that I found in my MeMaw's attic when we were cleaning out her house. My MeMaw went to heaven when I was in the 6th grade and my family moved into her house since it offered more space and my mom had just found out she was having my brother. My parents moved out of that house during my 1st year of marriage and it was so painful to see it leave our family circle. I clung to that dish, which so happened to match the color scheme of my house, and it has sat on a stand on my kitchen counter for years. It broke this summer and I've kept it in a drawer in the hopes that I'll be able to put it back together…when I have the time and remember to get some more superglue at the store. Thanks for your post! It's just a silly dish. My memories of her are much more precious than that. 🙂

  3. What a beautiful tribute to your mom. I'm so glad that y'all talk about her in your home. We talk about Christopher's mom, too. My kids never knew her, but I hope that they'll feel like they did!

I means so much to hear from you!

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