Which was all well and good until…
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...|
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.
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!
"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.
I have a new favorite coffee mug.
But not a new favorite Boy.