Broken Vessels

I hear Jack rummaging in the kitchen and look over to find him standing on the kitchen step stool, meticulously scooping the remainder of hour-cold cocoa from the stove into a teacup.

“Be careful, Jack,” I warn, I pray.

December has been a difficult month. There have been many beautiful blessings, but there have also been many challenges. Jack has been struggling with anxiety and daily – sometimes hourly – meltdowns. As a result, I am constantly braced for the next bout to strike. Nerves raw.

He takes another scoop of the chocolaty syrup from the bottom of the saucepan, and then I hear it – shattering porcelain.

I draw in a deep breath and walk into the kitchen.

As I pick up the shards of china from the floor, I realize it is the last piece of a set we received as a wedding gift – five years, six moves, and two children ago.

Brooding over the loss of this final teacup, I begin to collect the pieces for the trash when, out of the corner of my eye, I see Jack grab a kitchen towel. With the cloth in hand, he gets down on his hands and knees and begins wiping hot chocolate from the floor.

In that moment, I forget about the cup, about autism, about weeks of tears and meltdowns, and I see my son. I see his giving heart, his loving nature, his soulful eyes, his innocence.

As I rise to put the broken pieces in the trash, I gently pat him on the back. His bottom lip quivers and he cries, “Oh mommy please don’t put the cup in the trash,” his sweet voice heavy-laden with failure and defeat. He curls up on the floor and lays his head on the cocoa-soaked towel, eyes brimming with tears. And I realize he feels as broken as the shattered cup I hold in my hands.

I set down the pieces, kneel beside my son, scoop him up, and say, “Things break, baby. And that’s okay.”

For “our bodies are made of clay, yet we have the treasure of the Good News in them.” (2 Cor 4:7)

And sometimes we must be broken to reveal the treasure we bear inside.


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