A few days ago I was cleaning my kitchen, when I mindlessly knocked a sugar bowl off of the window sill and into the sink. I watched in horror as if it were falling in slow motion, with me unable to stop it or catch it before it hit the sink and shattered. It was my mother’s sugar bowl, and it had sat on the exact same spot for the past three years.
I felt the threat of tears coming on as I picked up the broken pieces and tried to fit them back together like pieces of a puzzle. I wondered if I could possibly repair it, and if the glue would hold. At least the bowl was empty, so I didn’t have sugar all over my kitchen to clean up. Then I started to berate myself. How could I have been so careless? How could I have been so clumsy? Why had I been in such a hurry?
But then, something funny happened as I stood in my kitchen beating myself up and fighting back tears. I felt myself standing in another kitchen, long ago and far away. Instantly, thousands of memories came flooding back to me, and I felt the beginning of a smile coming on. The smile turned into a grin, and then giggles as sweet and funny memories filled my mind and lifted my spirits. We sure did spend a lot of time in that kitchen, much to my father’s chagrin, but that’s a story for another day.
I stood there a bit longer, basking in the warm glow of my memories, and then I threw the broken pieces away. I learned an important lesson that day. It’s not about the bowl, or if it’s full or empty. It’s about the heart. Because the heart is always full,and that’s where our memories live. It is a source of joy and a place of comfort when we need it. That’s the most valuable possession we own. All the rest is just stuff.