The Parable of the Bowls

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Once there were three women, each in her own kitchen.

The first woman reached for her favorite mixing bowl – and dropped it. She looked at the broken pieces on the stone floor and let herself go with cursing as she collected the pieces and found some glue. She was angry enough at having extra work to do that she forced the broken edges and splintered them even more, so that they could no longer fit together. In the end, she threw all the broken pieces onto the floor again and kicked them into a corner, and had no more mixing bowl.

The second woman reached for her favorite mixing bowl – and dropped it. She looked at the broken pieces on the stone floor and let herself go with crying as she collected the pieces and found some glue. She was fearful enough of making anything worse that her hands shook whenever she brought two edges together, so that the pieces fell apart again and again. In the end, she hid all the broken pieces (and the glue) on a high shelf, and had no more mixing bowl.

The third woman reached for her favorite mixing bowl – and dropped it. She looked at the broken pieces on the stone floor and gathered herself with deep breathing as she collected the pieces and found some glue. She was patient enough that she tested how each broken edge might best fit with another, eased the pieces together, and held them in place with steady, cupped hands while the glue set. In the end, the lines of the cracks reminded her to take extra care, and she valued the mended mixing bowl all the more.

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Oh God, we all are broken.
Be with us in our brokenness.

Be with us in our brokenness,
And shape us into wholeness.
Amen.

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Debbie Townsend is a member of Eastside Friends Meeting in Bellevue, WA (NPYM).

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