Do you ever read those giveaway tabloids that are full of ads? You know the ones I mean. They usually have some enticing special offer from the local oil change shop or storage yard, but most of the ads are classifieds placed by people hoping to unload everything from old suitcases to guinea pigs to BMWs.
A few weeks ago, I read an ad in our Pennysaver:
Mug collection. 30+ mugs, states, national parks, assorted tourist destinations. A-1 condition. $30 OBO.
The ad made me cry. Crazy, huh? Why should somebody’s effort to clear out some clutter reduce me to tears?
Maybe it’s because my mother collected mugs. But I don’t think so.
Some things you need to accumulate as you live your own life. Something feels wrong about instantly acquiring a mug collection through a transaction. It’s just not supposed to happen that way.
My mom had mugs from Disneyland and Texas and the San Diego Zoo. She had Christmas mugs, blue ones with cheerful snowmen grinning from the glossy ceramic surface. She had Tweety Bird mugs. This fearless, all-in woman who was my mom? She loved Tweety Bird.
Mom’s mug collection was her scrapbook–or maybe her road map. It held a one-of-a-kind collection, mementos of the places and events that had shaped her one-of-a-kind life. While she lived, she and I could sit at her table and gaze silently at the mugs, hanging by their handles on the wall. Without a word, we were communing over a life’s story–her life’s story, which made it part of my life’s story, too.
It would be easy to watch television shows and read magazines and to imagine that everyone else’s mug collection is stuffed chockablock with mugs from Bali. From the World Series. From the best day spa in town.
But when it comes to mugs, the only ones that count are your own. Only your mugs, collected one by one, tell the story of the life you were born to live.
So how about you? Do you have a collection? What does your collection tell us about you? Would you swap your collection for someone else’s? Why/why not?
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Psalm 139: 1-3 (ESV)
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