The Broken Glass Dish

The plans for our lesson in children’s church called for me to show a chipped dish and a good dish. We were to completely break the broken one later. Do not even ask me the point of the object lesson because what happened during my prep time erased that memory!

I told my family I was going to run to Goodwill to buy a chipped dish. My 84 year old mother, who was living with us, said, “I have something you could use.” I fell in love with the small porcelain dish as soon as I saw it. The broken flower-covered top lay in two pieces.
The porcelin dish

I exclaimed, “That’s beautiful…even though it’s broken!”

Silence.

“Is this yours? Where did you get it?

Silence.

I knew to wait for her because she would only speak when she was ready. And I also knew I was not going to destroy this dish for any object lesson.

She began to speak with a hint of anger in her voice. “I have no idea why I even saved this. Should have thrown it away years ago. It’s the only thing Papa ever bought me. I was twelve years old. You need to break it for your object lesson.”

I cannot begin to relate to you the wave of emotions that flooded over me. I felt overwhelmed with sadness.  My mother was speaking about her father, my grandfather who had died on my first birthday. I never heard my mother or her siblings say a kind word about this man…and now she held in front of me a gift he had given her.

Really?! She held on to this dish for 72 years! She had packed it for a move from Georgia to Florida and then 30 years later, packed it again for a move to Washington State. Was it a symbol of her anger? Who holds on to anger for 72 years? My heart broke for her. But I could find no words to help her.

Can you tell I love this broken dish? I now have two gifts from my unknown Grandpapa…the gold coin broach he gave his wife and the porcelain dish he chose for his youngest daughter.

Thank you, Grandpapa, for my treasure and for my lesson to not hold on to anger.

 

In memory of Charles Venson Driskell (1879-1950) and Doyce Alline Driskell Lampkin (1915-2001)

 

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6 Responses to The Broken Glass Dish

  1. Emily says:

    I am really enjoying visiting your blogs – I love the memories you are sharing and the important stories we can all learn from like this to let go of our anger! Thank you.

    Like

  2. You’ve got me curious. Why the emotions? What does the dish mean? I also don’t understand the breaking of the dish as part of the lesson. How about fixing it like we should fix broken things? Are we only accepted if we’re perfect? Anyway, loved your post.

    Like

    • Ruth Packard says:

      The emotion for me was sadness: real sorrow that my mother would hold on to something for soooo long. In this case, she held on to a broken dish and anger. There had been a broken relationship for her lifetime. Why did she want to be reminded of it?

      I love the dish…broken…as it remains.
      I am always asking myself questions as I write! Thank you for giving me more to think about!

      Like

  3. That is so sad that she held onto that anger for so many years. Your story sure has me looking at some of my own, most has gone away over the years but every now and then, I am somehow re-connected to it. I sure don’t want to carry it for that long. Thank you!

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  4. Glenda says:

    What I find interesting about this story is that not only did she hold onto it for all those years and carry with her to so many places but she passed it to you and wanted you to destroy it for her.
    Thanks for sharing your story.

    Like

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