Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thoughts on Broken Glass

It was 2:11pm Monday afternoon. We were spending our afternoon as we've spent most of our afternoons since moving to Portland: not doing too much, with something planned later in the day. On this day, we were going to go golfing around 4:00pm and were sort of just hanging out. I was in the second bedroom dinking around on the computer - you know, checking Google Reader, ESPN, Facebook... dinking. Noelle was taking care of a few things (so she says) and also on her computer. Suddenly, a sound of a couple glasses breaking. My first thought is "Oh no, she broke another glass while cleaning it". Then, a split second later, the absolute loudest sound I'd heard in a really long time. It sounded like a hundred things came crashing down all at once in our living room. Noelle let out a scream more piercing than I'd ever heard from her. I think I flew to the living room in .03 seconds, expecting to find Noelle motionless on the ground with glass all over her. Fortunately I found her standing next to the broken glass, hands covering her face, shocked at what had transpired. Somehow, the glass shelf that our glasses (wine glasses, champagne, china glasses from my mother and from our own set) were on in our china hutch had come off its hinge and every last glass broke against either the floor or, more likely, other broken glasses. Except two. Somehow, the cheapest and least meaningful glasses had survived - two champagne glasses from Rogers Jewelers that I'd been given because I was with my buddy Keith shopping while he looked for diamond earrings for his wife (every guy needs a wingman in those kind of places). Thanks, Rogers.

It took over 30 minutes to clean it up and even then we couldn't be sure we got it all. We should probably vacuum five more times, very slowly, hoping to get the little shards of glass that might remain hidden until the opportune time when some nice new friend comes over for dinner, takes off their sandals, and gets somehow gashed in the bottom of their foot and sends us the $2000 medical bill. Just sayin'. Anyways, it was a pretty upsetting experience because many of those glasses carried sentimental value to them. Some were from wine/food events in towns like Murphys, Fairplay, and a recent one near Portland. Some were from my mother's china collection, and weren't wine glasses but we used them for fun desserts and stuff. Others were fairly expensive parts of our own china collection. But, as good Christians we just said "Oh well, it's just material things". But, to be honest, I'm still sincerely bummed about the "stuff" we lost. I'm an experience-over-possessions guy, until a possession that is attached to a great experience is gone through a freak glass breaking accident. Then I think about how instead of drinking out of cool memory-filled glasses, we are now drinking out of glasses we went and bought cheap at Fred Meyer (a store similar to Target).

But, the truth is, it was just stuff and stuff always breaks. Electronics (which we pay much more for than wine glasses) rarely last more than 3-5 years - I say it's a conspiracy and makers of electronics "don't make 'em like the used to" on purpose so you spend more money. Food rots, furniture gets old and uncomfortable, clothes get holes in them (even though people pay more money for pre-made holes in jeans, go figure), and everything else breaks, burns, wilts, or goes bad in some form or another. And it got me thinking about brokenness in general and how fragile everything really is. Seriously, everything. Well, except for some materials and compounds that seemingly never get broken, but for the sake of the argument we'll say everything. And that's not more true in anything than our human bodies.

Have you ever stopped to think about how fragile you are? We get sick from little organisms that powerful microscopes can barely see. We get gashed on the foot by little pieces of glass hidden in carpets. We slip and break bones. We are so fragile yet we tend to spend such little time thinking about it or acting like we're fragile. Instead we tend to pretend we'll be around forever and even have the audacity to just assume we'll make it home, even when home is just a few miles away (I read once that the majority of auto accidents happen within 1 mile of home).

All I'm saying is, don't take it for granted. Don't take people for granted that you love. Don't take your health for granted, or even if you're not healthy don't take the fact that you're still breathing for granted. Make it count. Know your Creator, Sustainer and Lord, love him, walk with him, and trust in him. Thank him for all the "stuff" you have, and pray that God makes sure you don't get more attached to the stuff rather than him or other people around you. Think about the miracle of your body working properly so you can move around. You're not an accident, though accidents do happen to you.

All this reflection came from a bunch of glass breaking? Yes.

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