One of my favorite things about getting married was registering for new stuff. Shallow, I know, but I LOVED looking at dishes and fajita pans and mixers and, and, and...I could go on forever.
It was fun to start over with new stuff. Kinda symbolic, don't ya think?
Then you start using the dishes everyday. And after a few years, they get cracked or even worse, broken and you have to throw them away,
Our marriage started out like a cabinet full of new and shiny dishes.
And then the every day happened. Work and kids and finances and unkind words said in bad moods all created cracks. There have been things we've had to throw away. In some cases, we've replaced them with a better model, in others, we realized we never needed them in the first place.
A few weeks ago, Brian and I had an honest conversation about our marriage. "Is it better now after going through the hard stuff?"
What a loaded (and scary) question! I wanted our answer to be YES! surrounded by heart-eyed emojis and general sappy-ness. Brian said it best when he said "It's more real."
In the beginning, our dishes were seldom used (after all, when it was just the 2 of us, we ate out a lot and it took a while to rotate through 12 bowls), so of course they looked pretty and shiny. And that mixer was wiped clean after every use.
As life happened, we didn't pay as much attention when we took the bowls out of the dishwasher and accidentally hit them on the side of the countertop. And the poor mixer started getting flour caked on it because there wasn't time to wipe it down before the girls woke up from their nap--it was a miracle that the cake got in the oven!
Real isn't always pretty. And it's usually surrounded by the monkey covering his mouth emoji instead of the heart-eyed smiley face one. Sometimes it's no emoji at all.
But real is GOOD. In fact, it's real good.
It's truth and love and laughter mixed in with the hurt and the frustration and the hard. It's eating on those cracked dishes and being thankful they've survived. It's not thinking twice about throwing away the broken and making do with what's left. It's still loving the pattern and knowing you would pick the same one again if you had it to do all over again.
No cracks means the dishes haven't been used. Or that they've been handled very carefully and never had anyone banging their fork on them or scraping the bottom of the bowl with their spoon. It's the china in the cabinet that seldom gets taken out--it's pretty to look at, but you can't always enjoy eating on it because you're trying to be so careful. It's hand-washing slowly instead of rinsing and laughing as you casually put it in the dishwasher.
Cracked dishes tell a story. Not always the easy story, but the GOOD and REAL one.