As soon as I bumped that old, thick-glass jar, I knew trouble was coming. But that didn’t deter my hands from grasping the air in hopes of catching it before it made contact with the porcelain tiled kitchen floor.
I’ve dropped numerous dishes over the years. That was not unusual. The odd element was the distance the shards covered. The fairly large jar had flown into more pieces than I had ever seen. Instantaneously, the jar became . . . well, not a jar, and never again to be a jar. The remaining fragments covered my entire kitchen floor. Obviously, the greatest congregating happened at my feet. I felt their sharpness hit my shins, ankles, and feet. It stung, but I was unharmed. That was the good news.
The bad news? I had on no shoes or socks. As I peered around for a place to step that would not result in pain, no clear area appeared. I considered a little hop further out to avoid disaster. NO. There was glass literally everywhere. No space appeared large enough for a foot. I was a bit panicked, especially as I heard my two year old grandson coming to inspect the disaster. I shouted for him to stay away, explaining Mimi had broken a jar and the glass could hurt his little feet. He obeyed.
But my little feet remained in peril!
Glass had scattered to the wall by the kitchen table, to the carpet’s edge and beyond into the living room, under the appliances, into the dogs’ dishes, into the great room, and clear out into the laundry room. It was everywhere! It was almost comical that a movement of perhaps two inches could cause a disaster area at least twenty-five feet wide! Almost comical.
Finally, using some awkward ballerina-type moves, I reached a safe place to put my feet on the floor, receiving only a small knick in return. Once I was properly shod, I began the tedious clean up. I worked hard to remove all traces of glass, finally feeling satisfied it was safe for a shoed toddler.
That was last week.
A few days ago, my husband reported finding a fair chunk of glass.
The next day, he found more.
Today, I found another piece.
We cannot figure out where they are coming from. The rugs were shaken and washed. The floor was thoroughly swept. All initial traces had been removed. We thought. Now I’m beginning to believe we will never see the last of that jar. It just keeps showing up, often in areas far from the point of impact.
Life can be like that old glass jar. In one careless moment, situations can shatter at our feet, and the repercussions reach areas we could never have anticipated. The rippling effect can carry the damage hastily and irretrievably outside our control. Once in a while, the effect is devastating.
In this case, damage was minimal. I had a broom and dustpan, a vacuum, and a washing machine, everything I needed to eliminate all noticeable evidence of my carelessness. But when new pieces show up, I am again reminded of my mistake.
I wish I’d been more careful. I wish I hadn’t been in such haste to finish those dishes. I wish the noise hadn’t scared my grandson. I wish.
But wishing doesn’t matter. I cannot change the past.
But I can remember the lessson. I can try to be more careful, knowing the effect of my thoughtlessness could be more widespread than I ever imagined.
I can be more careful with my actions, with my choices, and with my words. I can work to avoid the messes impetuousness can make. I may not be able to “unbreak” the jars I’ve shattered, but I can strive to break fewer in the future.
And, when I fail, I can again be thankful for God’s cleansing forgiveness.
“Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth;
keep the door of my lips.”