Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bread for the Journey

Early this summer the house where I lived from my birth until marriage was taken apart from the rafters to the foundation to make way for a new house.  I was invited to come and walk through once last time and then after the work of the excavator was finished,  I walked among the ruins searching for bits of nostalgic items that I might save. 

In the cellar I found a dozen glass canning lids that were layered in years of dirt and broken shards of jars. I gathered them as though they were a rare archeological fossil and took them home to soak in hot soapy water before I scrubbed through the hard clay to reveal the treasures linking me to my childhood.

Several weeks later my brother Ken came over and held out this bowl to me.  It was cracked nearly through in several places and covered with crazing.  "I found this in the cellar and I thought you should have it"... he said.   Like the glass canning lids the bowl had been caked with dried mud and clay and  he had uncovered his own memories of our Mom using that bowl as he cleaned it.  

The bowl was before my time.   I remembered Mom having a set of Pyrex bowls in the primary colors but had never seen this bowl.  For more than sixty years, that bowl has laid in the cellar that was not ever used again after the flood of 1948.  It was put there in a time when things were not easily discarded to the garbage.  I wonder at her reasoning for saving it from total destruction. 

 I imagine, it once held cookie dough and pie pastry and most likely some of my Mom's tears.  She will have prayed while she worked in her kitchen preparing meals for her hungry family.  The bowl is now safely sitting in a place of honor, reminding me of the one who washed it most often.  The value of the bowl is not significant to others, but only to me and yet I wouldn't trade it for a rare piece of fine china. 

I was reading in 2 Timothy this week and was struck by verse 21 and 22.  I read it in a few different translations to understand how I could apply God's word to my new/old bowl. 

If I want to be a willing vessel to serve and bless others, it is important that  my heart is right before the Lord so that I can be used by him.  I can look like I have it all together on the outside and no one would know the selfish, disobedient places in my life but when I confess those before God and live in obedience to his word, he can use me to be a blessing in service to others. 

 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
2 Timothy 2:20-21 ESV Translation
 In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing.  

2 Timothy 2:20-21  The Message Translation


  1. Sometimes we cannot be used until we're broken.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts this morning, Lovella.

  2. appreciated this write up very much...thank you for sharing your sound like my type....collecting glass....and the memories that go with it. I have a old blue jar full of all kinds of broken glass, my daughter and I have collected through the years. Makes a great door stop.

  3. What an inspiring article. I have a very cracked small pottery vase that my mother brought from Latvia when she fled during WW2. It is not a priceless heirloom. But I cherish this small item as well, even more so since my mother has passed. It speaks to a past day when items were not thrown away and "things" were not so easily bought as money had to be spent on food etc.. Thank you. I am going to print and save your article.

  4. This was a meaningful post Lovella. I love how you brought your collections into focus around "cracked vessels" It's always interesting to see how meaningful these antiques can become and speak spiritual stories for all of us. Thank you!

  5. What a beautiful memory and a beautiful reminder to us all.

  6. I like the bowl. So lucky it was brought to you and that you can use it. I'm not understanding your story though...are you saying you had to search through rubble? Why could you not have searched for things before the house was torn down and things smashed?

    1. Ah.. good question Athanasia. The cellar part of the house was essentially sealed off after the area flooded badly. No one had ever gone down there after that to clean up whatever had been destroyed by the flood. There was really only some canned goods and a few broken dishes. This was all before my time, so I am not sure why the cellar was not cleaned out before closing.