I have a set of flawless china. It is Lenox and it has a silver rim like a lucky cloud.
I also have a morning coffee cup. It’s crazed from being microwaved just a little bit too much. There is a chip that serves as a reminder to not sip on that side. When the handle breaks I will, most likely, glue it back on.
Sentimental? Not really.
I have been thinking about broken things a lot lately. How my daughter’s journey has introduced me to the fractured and hidden members of our society. I have been inside too many psychiatric hospitals, too many jails, too many police stations, too many emergency rooms and too many detox centers. I have seen too many people cry.
But now I can hold these experiences in the palm of my hand like an old coffee cup. They are no longer things that happen to other people. And I can see that they have added value to my previously flawless life.
Three years ago I noted in my journal the incongruities that were becoming our norm:
“I had to pick my daughter up from an in-patient psych ward this morning. She looked just beautiful in a black tee shirt and old jeans. Her blonde hair hung in a long braid over one shoulder. I could barely see the bruise on her cheekbone. As she gathered her things to go she insisted on saying goodbye to Carl. She knocked on his door on her tippy toes, and said, “Carl come out.” “Carl, come out and say goodbye to me.” And she waited patiently. I was expecting a young boy…. but an old man came out. Wizened, beaten down, shuffling. She gave him a big, big hug. And I just didn’t know what to do with the feeling.”
Somedays I still don’t know what to do with all the feeling. But I know I am the better for it.