Today I heard about a good friend of mine expecting a baby.
Obviously, I’m thrilled for her. She’s a lovely woman and is going to make a wonderful mum. Her husband is really wonderful, and I know he wants kids and will be an involved father. It’s all very lovely.
And, I have a baby of my own now, I’m not infertile anymore. So, why do I still feel that horrible sinking what’s-wrong-with-me feeling whenever I hear about someone having a baby?
I honestly thought that having a baby of my own would mean that I could just be pleased for other people’s babies. But, I just feel broken and crushed.
I had a nice cup of tea, and that brought me a realisation: I feel broken, like my chipped mug.
Other people have lovely families with fresh, planned, innocent babies. I have my broken family, my lovely adopted boys with all their past dragging behind them and my long-time-coming baby. We have our therapy sessions, our fraught birthdays, our close relationship with social services; I’m still jealous of the ‘perfect family’.
Other people are whole, shiny mugs, and we have a great big chip on one side.
Really, I ought to get rid of the chipped mug. I have a cupboard packed with mugs as it is.
One less would be a good thing!
I would be able to stop worrying that I will accidentally make tea in the chipped mug for a guest. I am very careful not to give a guest the chipped mug. I keep special inoffensive, unchipped mugs for guests.
Which is probably pretty common. I expect a lot of people keep their chipped mugs in the back of the cupboard and hide them from guests.
Of course there are no perfect families. Everyone has their chips, even if they don’t usually display them.
And, I have always believed that there can be a beauty in flaws. There is something extra lovely about being a bit chipped but still being able to do your job.
Our wounds have a beauty all of their own. Our wounds and chips have the beauty of imitating Christ’s own wounds. He sits on the throne of heaven not as a whole and perfect man, but as ‘a lamb that has been slain’ (Rev. 5:6). One day the wounds and flaws of my little lambs will be glorified too.
Until then, I will remember to treasure them, chips and all, and remember that everyone has chips.