Faith, Parenting
Comments 9

Broken Teacups at the Party {thoughts on Wholeness}

Friday, August 5, 2011.

Summer is buzzing like so many insects-dragonflies and their kin, the shimmering damselflies. Honeybees, flies, moths, lacewings, crane-flies.

Summer is buzzing by. I grasp at sun-soaked moments like my son tries to catch winged creatures. He holds them in his the hollow of his palms; excited, he  fills jars with his treasures. Metallic exoskeletons sparkle in the August light but they languish in captivity. “Let them go,” I plead in mother-tones. Because moments, like damselflies, are meant to rush and breath and live, not remain sequestered under glass. Moments are to become memories and memories are to become stories and stories can be told over and again. Stories give moments eternal life. Stories are meant to live.

This Friday, I’m telling a story, a short story written in a little snip of time. I’m linking up with Gypsy Mama’s Five Minute Friday. Today’s word: Whole. Just write:


I know a lady who collects teacups. Most have been gifts from her daughters. The collection actually began with a gifted teacup from her daughter-in-law over thirty years ago.

She has dozens of them now. Fragile things of bone china lining shelves in tidy rows.

All of them are quite the same, shapely bowls with curled handles resting on saucers. All of them serve the same purpose: to beautifully cup tea. To grace a place setting with a blossom of art.

But in all their sameness, they are different. Each teacup bears it’s own design. Some have delicate floral motifs–rose, sprays of larkspur, clustered daisies or  sprigs of lily of the valley. Others are trimmed in gold. A few have tiny landscape scenes of English countryside in spring.

One is broken.

Her husband did it. Clumsy, large, outdoor-working-man hands dropped a Royal Albert teacup, then gathered the pieces, found the glue and put it back together. It’s whole again. Different, but whole.

She keeps that teacup, actually gives it a place of honor. Its brokenness represents a different kind of value. It’s glue represents a different kind of healing. Yellowing lines where the adhesive joins the fractured parts can be traced with a fingertip while memory traces the lines of graced forgiveness in her own life.

After eighty years, one knows breaks and heartaches. One knows prayers and forgiveness. One knows a bit about healing and the bonds of love that hold shattered parts together.

She keeps that cup and remembers.

That is the cup I want to inherit from this teacup collector, my mom.

When I brought my family to visit Grandma Pearl last summer, my daughter and I cleaned the teacups and their corresponding shelves. We dusted and washed and returned the cups to their stations. Then we had a tea party.

We held beauty in our hands and ate lovely blueberry scones.

We sat, three generations around a century-old oak table and broke bread, held a certain communion in Staffordshire and Royal Albert. We sipped from unbroken cups all of us broken. Our hands can trace the lines of our failures and feel for the grace-glue that’s made us whole. And we are gifts to Jesus {John 10:27-29}

We are holy his. Set apart for special purposes.

We are wholly his — healed by the grace-glue of a merciful Savior.

He keeps us, because he understands our worth and calls us his own.

Holy. His.


But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. {Isaiah 53:5}

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” {1 Thessalonians 5:28}

Weekend blessings to you!




  1. Oh my goodness! This was the most beautiful post! The WHOLE thing spoke with such love for the people and the moment and the memory! Thank you! I hope you have more tea parties!

  2. Simply stunning. Beautiful story and sentiments. I agree and am surrounded by memories of my own tea parties with fine china and relatives who have sadly passed, I think of all they shared with me their love of him, their love of stories, their love of life, their love of friendship, their love of tea and sharing. Thank you for gently awakening these memories. Nx

    • It is good to remember and it’s good to share the memories with others, like my girls, like teacakes on a platter — specialties. Thanks for coming by. Keep memories fresh, Aly

  3. What a beautiful analogy of the way God gently picks us up, all of our broken pieces, and with His forgiveness and love, puts us back together, re-created and whole. Thank you for allowing God to use your gift of writing to speak straight to my heart.

    • Thank you for reading. I’m happy to hear it struck a chord with you. I’m sometimes just overwhelmed by the fact that his eye sees all of us fallen sparrows and his grace covers and heals — it’s a tremendous thing to ponder –Blessings, Aly

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