Sunday, June 6, 2010


1: violently separated into parts :shattered

A wedding gift that we've held on to for nearly fourteen years was broken yesterday, just weeks before it was to be installed in our new kitchen. It was a gift from my former ceramic instructor, a tile of a landscape with blues that would have matched those to be used in our kitchen. It was, of course, broken by accident.

I was sitting outside on the front porch, nursing an aching head, when I heard A calling me. I stepped inside and she told me that J was upstairs calling for me - and that he was crying. As I headed up the stairs in alarm, A went on to explain that her dad was crying because he'd broken something. This was a relief because I was worried he was hurt. I'd rather an object (even this one) be broken than need to rush my husband to the hospital for an injury. And as I rushed up the stairs, I knew in my heart of hearts what must be broken for him to be this upset about it.

I arrived upstairs to find the tile in three pieces, J crying on the floor beside it. I didn't immediately start crying. This was partially because I was in shock, but also because I was telling myself, "It's just a thing," over and over in my mind. I immediately went into survivor mode and started sectioning off the pain and disappointment of losing this little piece of a dream of a new kitchen. And I focused on comforting J, who clearly felt terrible about what had happened. We talked for a bit and he finally left the room, still devastated about the accident. And his brokenness over a broken ceramic tile that was special to both of us worked a minor miracle in my heart because it let me actually feel some sadness.

With difficult emotions, I'm pretty quick to shove them aside and move past them without actually moving through them. It's easier to numb myself than to feel a bit of sadness, even over an accident. So I sat on the floor and cried. And as I cried, I reminded myself that it was far better to be crying over a broken tile than a broken marriage. Because, in a way, I saw this tile as a part of our marriage. That was why I had wanted it installed in our new kitchen - in the home we've made together for our family. And while it was sad, it was also a blessing to have a husband with a tender heart. A husband who knows my own heart and is devastated when he breaks something dear to me. A husband who is able to stand there broken about his mistake and love me in his brokenness.

I'll take that any day over the perfect kitchen with a tiled back splash unique to our home. I'll take a husband who knows and loves me over one who takes my approach to pain - to shove it aside and partition it off in an effort to survive life's storms, both big and small. I've learned a lot from J over the years and while I'm sad this particular lesson came at the cost of this tile, I'm very, very grateful to still be learning from him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Shannon, I am just reading a couple of your blog posts. beautiful writing, my friend. I wanted to say something about your broken tile: I think it is beautiful in its' broken pieces. Maybe it signifies more in broken pieces and still seeing it's beauty. What if you grout it like your last photo looks? What a wonderful reminder of how our Jesus makes the broken beautiful. Love, Samantha