The lessons learned from a broken candlestick reminded me that memories will never be so easily crushed.
The sound told the story without even having to look. My grandmother’s antique candlestick had fallen off the mantle on to the rock fireplace below. Glass hitting rock is never a good situation.
My immediate response was to kill my cat (the culprit in the situation). She was sitting on the rock – frozen – trying to be invisible while imitating innocence with all her might.
I gasped because that’s what you do when a treasure lays in ruins before your eyes. Frantically, I searched for a weapon to rid me of the menace mimicking me from the chair – where she had moved when she thought I wasn’t looking so she could distance herself from the mess she had made.
My son came into the room and screamed at the cat. The cat ran.
Instead of chasing down the cat, I found myself kneeling by the shards of glass. The pieces were so small and there were so many. Repair was not going to be an option. I had no words, only a painful sigh. My grandmother gave me the gift for my birthday – the last gift she gave me before she passed away. Grief washed over me.
“Can you fix it, Mom?” My son knelt beside me.
“I don’t think so.” I fought the tears eager to flow.
“Stupid cat.” My son reflected my annoyance.
I knew I had to reflect something better. “Leave her alone.” The soft calm of my voice surprised even me. “It’s just a thing.”
My son turned and looked at me.
“But, it was from your grandmother.”
I pulled him to me and looked him directly in the eyes. Brushing back the runaway twig of hair from his face I found words I didn’t expect, “You know that candlestick was the last gift my grandmother gave me before she died, right?”
His gentle heart brought tears to his own eyes that matched mine, but the man in him struggled to hold the tears back. He nodded.
“Where is my grandmother now?” A soft smile had found its way to my face.
“She’s with Jesus.” He rubbed his eyes with both fists.
“Do you think breaking this candlestick has changed that?”
He shook his head.
Looking back down at the shattered candlestick hurt, but it was, after all, only a candlestick. “The real value lies in my memories, and my memories remain intact.”
Sometimes, in the hectic life we lead, we forget the value of people, memories, and love. Stuff takes the lead. The material possessions seem to take up all of our time and energy.
The next time the kids break a vase, the husband knocks over a lamp, or the cat ruins a priceless heirloom, try to remember where the real value lies.