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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "It's No Use Crying over Spilt Milk" (without using the actual phrase or literal exampl (02/07/08)

TITLE: A Fragile Balance
By Patty Wysong
02/12/08
~1st Place


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Shattering glass in the kitchen jerked Lauren's head up.

“What just broke?” she called, doing a mental inventory of what had been on the counters. The sudden silence guaranteed heartache. “Do I want to know?”

“Um, I don't think so, Mom,” came the quavery reply.

Lauren's eyes clenched shut. The reigning silence easily carried her voice, “My china mug?”

“Ah, yeah.”

Looking up at the ceiling Lauren groaned. Lord, that was my favorite gift from Mom...

Taking a deep breath she stepped into the kitchen and encountered two pairs of wide eyes.

“We weren't horsing around, Mom, honest.”

“I'm so sorry, Mom. I tossed the pot holders to Brad to put away, but I threw too hard and they knocked your cup.” Tears edged his voice.

Holding up her hand for silence Lauren hunkered down and observed the damage. Scattered across the linoleum were the remains of the china mug her mother had given her after returning from England. It was the prettiest thing she owned and she treasured it.

Promise me you'll use it and not just leave it sitting on a shelf, her mother demanded when the tissue paper had revealed the roses nestled in baby's breath painted on the delicate china. It's made for service, Lauren, just like we're made for service to our Lord.

But it'll get broken if I use it, Mom. Growing kids are killers on glass and fragile things; have you forgotten how many glasses I broke when I was a kid?

Being broken is part of being used. Don't fear it...


A few short years later her mom was completely dependant on others for her basic needs: she was physically broken, yet she was still being greatly used by God.

“Don't move. Let me get these pieces first, then we can take care of the splinters.” She gathered them all onto a plate and carefully set it aside. Looking at the boys she saw trembling chins.

“I'm sorry, Mom.”

Lauren pulled them into a hug. “I know you weren't horsing around, you were working together and getting your jobs done quickly. It's ok.”

“But it was your favorite, Mom.”

“Yes,” she sighed, blinking fast. “It was my favorite, but what's done is done; there's no going back. Besides, there's more to life than a pretty china mug. C'mon, let's finish taking care of this mess.”

Later she picked up the plate of shards and went to her desk, finally allowing a few tears to fall. Lord, my mother is in a broken body yet she's still beautiful and You're using her, just not as You used to. This cup has been special to me for so many years and I 'm not ready to let go of it yet. Can I have it for a little while longer?

Wiping her eyes, Lauren pulled out the super glue and painstakingly pieced it back together, her mom's words echoing in her heart. Being broken is part of being used. Don't fear it...

When she was done, the mug was laced with glue lines and had several chips on the rim and the footed base. There was no way it would ever be used as a drinking cup again, but to Lauren it was beautiful.

“Mom?”

“Come see, guys,” she said, turning to them with an exhausted smile.

Disappointment filled their eyes when they saw it.

“It's ok, boys.”

“How? It's still all busted up, even though you glued it.”

Lauren smiled. “True, but its life isn't over, it just has a new purpose.”

The boys looked dubiously from the china mug to their mother.

“It's going to sit on my dresser and remind me to always get on with life and let God use me and work through me, even when there are pieces missing.”

“Kinda like Granma?”

“Yes, son, like Granma.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 02/14/08
Your story is beautiful. Your writing with this lesson is wonderful. I love this line, "Being broken is part of being used." I'd never heard/thought of this. I've actually done something similar (kept a cracked mug and used it for something "non-liquid".) Now everytime I see it I'll remember your lesson. Thank you!
Denise Pienaar02/15/08
A very good lesson to be learnt from this story. Great job and keep on writing.
Holly Westefeld02/15/08
Beautiful story, and great title.
The only thing you forgot was the tissue warning.
Joanne Sher 02/15/08
Lovely lesson and wonderful descriptions. I was there with your MC. The emotions are so authentic.
Laury Hubrich 02/16/08
Wow! What lessons to be learned here! Great writing!
Laury
Seema Bagai 02/16/08
Wonderful story. I really enjoyed this.
LauraLee Shaw02/17/08
This made me cry. What a beautiful and moving story, and perfectly on topic.
william price02/18/08
Outstanding, ministered on several levels. A very intelligent and enjoyable read. I loved the symbolism of the cup and the italics :).
Great job. God bless.
Yvonne Blake 02/18/08
Ahhh... I loved the ending. I'll never view a broken glass the same way again.
Thanks for the mini-sermon, Lord.
Great writing.((hugs))
Leigh MacKelvey02/18/08
Oh wow, Peej! I'm just now getting around to reading and wish I'd read this sooner. It's beautifully written with such a touching and meaningful message. I was inspired! I just love,love, love it!
Donna Emery02/18/08
This was so lovely and such an encouragement to anyone who might feel like a "broken mug." God has a use for us, just as we are; thanks for reminding us of this! Blessings and hugs
Debbie Wistrom02/18/08
Thanks for this delicious slice of life, so much meaning in such a short piece, keep up the good words.
LaNaye Perkins02/18/08
Beautiful story that is beautifully written. I loved it!
Shirley McClay 02/18/08
Love this story. Makes me wish I'd kept one of the many things my kids have broken just for this reminder. Oh, well... I'm sure I'll have lots more chances!

Very powerful. Thank you.
Lyn Churchyard02/19/08
Beautifully written. You have captured the feelings of your MC perfectly. However I have to agree with Holly... a tissue warning would have been nice :)
Christine Dunn02/19/08
I loved this one. The lesson is excellent, and it illustrates the topic perfectly.
Jan Ackerson 02/19/08
Beautiful, beautiful parallels between the mug and life--this story works on several levels.
Lynda Schultz 02/19/08
Wonderful story, and the message was perfect. Great work.
Marita Thelander 02/20/08
Simple, sweet and sincere.
Sara Harricharan 02/20/08
I liked this one. The line with being broken but still used, that was fitting. It seemed to sum up this whole piece and it stood out the most to me, when she was praying and trying to repair the precious mug. I think you did well with this piece.
Dee Yoder 02/20/08
Love the title and the tie-in to the message in this story. I admire the mother and the way she reacts to her kid's accidental "disaster"! I love the awesome and gentle message that life is still valuable and valued, even if it has cracks and signs of wear. Beautiful story!
Pam Carlson-Hetland02/20/08
OK...now that I've dried my eyes and wiped my nose...I'd like to say that coming from someone with a "broken" mother and one who also feels "broken" at times, I really needed this lovely lesson today. This is masterfully written, thought provoking, and highly encouraging. Thanks for writing this. Great job!
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/20/08
I loved this story that fitted the topic perfectly.
Betty Castleberry02/20/08
I love this. I broke a bowl that was my grandparents, and it had already been through one break, though not by me. When I dropped the bowl, I looked at the pieces on the floor, and couldn't bear to throw them out. Instead, I glued them back together. It's pretty noticeable, but still it sits proudly in my china cabinet. You don't know how true to life your story is. Very well done.
Sally Hanan02/20/08
Very nicely written and deep. You have some good descriptions too.
LauraLee Shaw02/21/08
Peej,

Congratulations on your 1st place!!!! This is so worthy of the recognition. :)
Leigh MacKelvey02/21/08
WOOO, WOOO! Congratulations, Peej! I loved this story and wanted to leave in my comment that " This is a Winner" but didn't want to get your hopes up! ( sometimes my opinions don't win!) This was sooo well deserved!
Leigh MacKelvey02/21/08
WOOO, WOOO! Congratulations, Peej! I loved this story and wanted to leave in my comment that " This is a Winner" but didn't want to get your hopes up! ( sometimes my opinions don't win!) This was sooo well deserved!
Leigh MacKelvey02/21/08
Should I say it a third time?
Glynis Becker 02/21/08
This moved me to tears. So beautiful and a perfect analogy. Very well done!
Kristen Hester02/21/08
BEAUTIFUL! Congratulations! You go, girl.
Beth LaBuff 02/21/08
Peej -- Super congrats on your EC and level placing!!!!
Sara Harricharan 02/21/08
***Congrats, Peej!*** ^_^
Jacquelyn Horne02/21/08
Very good example. Congrats on the win!
Sheri Gordon02/21/08
Congratulations on your much deserved 1st place--this is a wonderful story. I wish I had been more like this mother when my children accidentally broke things. Great job with the topic.
Karen Wilber 02/21/08
This so deserved to win. Wow. Oh, wow.
Joy Faire Stewart02/21/08
Beautiful story and so deserving of 1st place. Congratulations!
Sharlyn Guthrie02/21/08
Beautiful! Congratulations on your well-deserved win. I'm glad I didn't miss out on reading this one.
James Clem 02/21/08
Wow - Awesome - this is Art in prose. Congrats! Well Deserved!