Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Broken Glass

I broke a glass in my office a couple of months ago. It was part of the random collection of things I love that dots my shelves and catches my eye on those days when I stare, praying for a sermon to hop down and preach itself.
This glass was an old one -- an antique, or at least part of the vintage kitsch that speaks to me. Frosted white glass with green polka dots, Fire King, if that means anything, a tall tumbler. I have one with red dots, too, but that one was treated unmercifully to a dishwasher's abrasion and the dots are more orange than the red they were created to be. That one, however, rests at home, on a top shelf, far away from my bumbling hands and dropsy days.
When the green-dotted glass broke I was reaching for a book to share with someone -- reaching carelessly, really, because I could have easily moved the glass to a different shelf. The glass fell and bounced, shattering upon impact, though retaining much of its shape. I placed the larger pieces of glass into the remaining form and tucked the smaller shards into a paper envelope before discarding them. But I couldn't bring myself to throw the rest away, and so it sits.
These days, when I gaze at my commentaries or my preaching books or poertry or the pictures that are tucked between, hoping for inspiration to float on over to my desk, my vision is caught by the sharp, pointed glass -- a contrast to the smooth edges of the dots and opaque, frosted glass.
I suppose, theologically, there is the reminder of this being a broken world, of God's restoration, of there being beauty in the midst of despair -- most of which are too melodramatic, even for me.
Someday I'll throw it away, I imagine, though I'd rather find a way to dull the edges and craft something pretty if not useful out of it. In the meantime, though, there's broken glass on my shelf -- right there in front of theology and commentary.