Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Boy vs. Coffee Mug

Mindless destruction irritates me.
Which was all well and good until…

Enter Boy.

Boy was born with tendencies that could be written into quotes such as: if you build it tall enough, it will fall. If you fiddle with it long enough, it will break. The girls in this family learned early on to keep all hair accessories out of his curious and prying fingers.

Items he CONstructed with his little artistic fingers...
Fingers that ironically, also have a great deal of artistic ability. Ah, Lord—You and Your mysterious ways.

Enter Microwave and Coffee Mug.

So one day I'm busy doing kitchen things when ten-year-old Boy comes breezing through. "Hey, Mom," he says, as he simultaneously jabs the microwave's door opening mechanism. It works as it's designed to—flies open. Straight into my favorite coffee mug—sending it off the counter and onto our Armstrong linoleum. And that linoleum is true to its name. Breaks the handle clean off of my favorite coffee mug. The one my in-laws gave me with "coffee" written all over it in a multitude of foreign languages.

Mindless destruction—I was irritated. Launched into lecture mode as I picked up the body of what used to be the perfect hot-liquid drinking vessel. "Son," I said, "was that really necessary? Look at what your careless behavior has done." I waved the mug in the air for emphasis. "There's a lesson to be learned here!" And then in a royally stupid move, I tossed the mug into the kitchen sink.

Enter Coffee Carafe.

Yup. That mug crashed into the carafe, practically shattering it. Boy looked at me, eyes WIDE. I looked at Boy.  Couldn't help but laugh. "Yes," I said, "there's a lesson to be learned here—it could always be worse."

And it's true—how we react to others, our environment, our circumstances, can always make things worse.

Enter Jesus.

He spoke some of my favorite verses on the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew. His words call for love and humility over force and exaction. They give us a template for reacting to the world around us in a way that will not make situations worse, and in a way that ultimately works to our own good.

Someone trespasses on you?  Forgive them.
Someone tells you to walk a mile?  Walk two.
Your enemy harms you?  Love him.
Boy breaks your coffee mug?  Time out and no dessert for a year!

Just kidding.

"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink (nor from what vessel) , nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Matthew 6:25 ESV (parenthesis mine.)

"The Lesson of the Coffee Mug" has become part of our family speak.

It could always be worse. We can choose to build or further destroy.

Enter Epilogue.
I have a new favorite coffee mug.
But not a new favorite Boy.


  1. Lisa, I loved this! Wish four boys in our household I can totally relate! Thank you for such a great reminder.

  2. Excellent lesson, Lisa. It's one of those "iron fists in the velvet glove" things–funny, but packs a punch.

  3. Reminds me of the book by, Carlson, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff--and it's all small stuff. Lisa, thanks for sharing this lesson, I SO relate! Hugs!

  4. I love this teaching-teachable mom. I could see it all with your descriptive words, and I've had too many moments like this coffe-cup moment myself. Thanks for the important reminder about what's really important!

  5. What a great reminder, Lisa. Thanks for sharing in your usual fun way.

  6. Ouch! I hate/love when God teaches me lessons like that.

  7. Sigh. I have a few Boys myself. And a fav coffee mug. Hang onto things with open hands, my mom always says. Hang onto people with love. Your life lessons continue to enrich us. And I'm soooooo glad the God has a sense of humour along with those mysterious ways.

  8. Love this! I probably needed to hear it today because so often I act out of impulse. There have been a few "almost shattered coffee pots" in my day. Great reminder for me. I'm listening, Lord. :D

  9. Thanks, Ladies--if only we could learn everything the painless way!

  10. Test Question:

    What is the link between microwave radiation and the Sermon on the Mount?

  11. hehe - still giggling. It could ALWAYS be worse (one MORE thing you can thank the Lord for - when folks come up to you and tell you "when I heard what you're going through, it helped me remember my situation isn't THAT bad" - true story!)

  12. I give up! Neil, what is the link between microwave radiation and the Sermon on the Mount?

  13. I like the format you put this in-made it rather suspenseful!(sp?)



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