Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tea Cup, Coffee Cup, or Mug?

I broke a mug the other day. I was putting dishes away and a coffee cup tumbled out the cabinet (or cupboard - depending on where you're from and who you are) and hit the mug square on. The mug shattered. The coffee cup sustained only a minor chip. I threw it away (along with the mug) anyway simply because I have a dozen of them and I wasn't sure if the chip was part of a hairline fracture or just a chip. It made me think. . . . . .

People are like those drinking vessels.

Some are Tea Cups. Lovely, but fragile. Just the slightest bump and they might break. Being delicate is their nature. They are made of different "stuff". We handle them differently. More gentle-like. We are careful not to expose them to too much of the everyday roughness. We even enjoy them in a different way - more delicately - with softer hands, quieter spirits. They almost demand it, with their delicate mannerisms. And we oblige - why? Because they are so fragile that we can actually see it and we wouldn't dream of injuring them in any way.

Some are Coffee Cups. They too are lovely, especially a favorite, but more substantial in their "make-up". They may appear fragile at times, but their very nature allows them to be handled with a firmer grasp and we instinctively know that. They don't "chip" as easily and we aren't always on our guard as to how to handle them, because they appear stronger. It makes us feel stronger and little more secure in holding them. They are fine with everyday "wear and tear". They can hold their own. They are our "everyday cups"!

Then we have the Mugs. The very name conjures up images of strength and stability, of being indestructible. They are well built, for the most part. Not fancy. Practical and purposeful. We carry them like a trophy. A mug is a personal thing. It has to fit your “personality” before you claim it as your own. It can reflect your character, your strengths, your self image, and even your (in)securities, if you look hard enough. We aren't afraid to yield and wield our mugs. We expect them to take the bumps and hurdles we throw at them. We are attracted to them for that very reason. They offer security and substance and they are strong and comforting. They will take a tumble and keep it “together".

But, in knowing all this about these vessels, I realized that even the most fragile can muster up strength and become as strong as or stronger than the most invincible. Who would have thought that a coffee cup would have persevered against the strong, unbendable mug? Who would have thought the mug would have given way to a coffee cup that is half its size?

I know people like those "cups". Some very fragile, some "everyday", and some very "strong". Surprisingly, I've seen the Tea Cup rise up to meet the challenge of everyday battles, and even the unexpected wars of life. I've also seen the Coffee Cup hold firm, become fragile, and bounce back with Mug determination. And the Mugs in my life - I've watched them weather storms you only read about. I've seen them stand back and take a lighter view of life and sip from the Coffee Cup. And I've seen them become Tea Cups for a short period, only because they needed to become delicate enough not to be "man handled" by life - so they could re-group, if you will and then slowly claim their rightful status as "Mug" once again.

I'm supposing I'm a Mug. But, I have graced the cupboards of the Tea Cups and Coffee Cups. After all, life isn't meant to be drunk on the fly and with brute force all the time. I need the "delicate" balance of "everyday" life so I can be "strong".

A fine balance, I know. It is difficult to say the least. But. . . a balance worth the effort and work. Perhaps one day I will master the technique. Perhaps.


  1. This would make a great talk for a ladies tea!! You have such a neat perspective on things--even if you have a quirky way of having to pour your creamer first :)

  2. ahhh that is where i got it from


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i'm a wife, a mom, a mom-mom, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a friend...i'm a child of God.... i love to read, scrap, and sew (all when time permits!)... i like trying new things, going to different places, even if only in my mind....i like simple, but life is complicated....i like spring days, snow storms, thunderstorms, and big puffy clouds you can make things out of....i like coffee, tea and iced chocolate milk you can sip thru a straw..........