Earlier this summer, I had a case full of memories shatter before my very eyes. Literally.
My dining room hutch displayed trinkets and treasures accumulated throughout my life. Fragile miniature penguins, gifted by various loved ones (I had quite the collection), wedding momentos, a tiny ceramic tea set lovingly painted by my grandmother, antique dishes and framed wedding photos. Crystal and porcelian, ceramics and glass.
Then I tripped and braced myself against the hutch and it all came tumbling down, in one earth-shattering crash. I screamed. The kids screamed. Then I saw the horror of broken pieces of my past scattered all around my dining room floor. It hurt my sentimental heart. Then, I sobbed. I sobbed and sobbed, and tried to keep my babies out of the wreckage. When I thought I had myself collected enough to talk, I called Mike at work. But as I tried to explain what had happened, I couldn't get the words out, and I bawled. My poor husband thought something was seriously wrong with me or one of the kids. I didn't even realize he was thinking something far worse than broken dishes was happening at home. When I finally articulated the cause of my distress, he quickly got in his car and headed home.
He came in, made sure everyone was ok, then just held me as I cried for a bit. I was a mess. But, in those few moments, I felt at peace. Then, he calmly went about bandaging Mr. Two's foot (who decided to walk through the glass after being told not to), and picking up the shattered bits. He then made a catalog of what was lost, with the thin hope of replacing some of it at some future point. He picked up the broken pieces when I could not. He was my anchor when I felt adrift and stayed until I could function again. As he left, I knew that all would be right. That things are just things, no matter the sentiment and value attached. Family. Relationships. Love. Those are things that are most precious. Those are the things we need to guard and protect. My earthly treasures may have shattered that day, but I realized who my true treasures are. At the top of my list? A husband who is willing to sort through the mess and put his arm around me in the midst of the tumult.
Love is picking up the broken pieces.