this one isn't an update.
This one is a story. One that happened to me just this morning.
No, this probably isn't some life-changing or extremely profound story, but I do feel like it needs told at least once.
While I was unloading the dishwasher for my mother, both my parents were discussing the the new blueberry colored cookware we'd gotten recently to replace the yellow we had. My mom frowned at the tea kettle sitting on the stove and said, "You know, it's a shame that old kettle didn't come in the blueberry like all the others. I would have liked a replacement." My dad agreed as he lifted the kettle and poured hot water into his mug. "Me too. I really like this kettle--it has a good snapping spout and stuff." My mom tapped the lid and added, "This one is still okay, but I really hate that chip in the paint on here."
My eyes set themselves on the chink out of the yellow exterior of the kettle. It really didn't look that bad. My dad murmured something else and left the kitchen, likely to check the mail or something of the sort.
I took a breath and grabbed another plate from the dishwasher, then said, "You know, what you just said was very counter-intuitive to something else you'd said before." She looked up at me expectantly, so I continued, "Didn't you recently say that you really admired Grandma Bandy for letting kids play with her nice things? How she didn't worry about them breaking the lovely stuff, and even if they did she wasn't bothered?
"The chip really isn't that bad, you know, and it obviously was an accident. I don't think anyone meant to damage it. I think the kettle is still very pretty, but I don't really care about how it looks. I care about all the great memories that go along with that thing."
Mom sighed and replied, "Well, I mean, I don't really, but it bothers your dad a lot. He wants it to match the rest of them."
I nodded and said, "Then I guess we need to have a word with Dad about not valuing an object based off its appearance. We should actually be valuing stuff based off the memories and people associated with them. And more than that we need to remember that stuff...it doesn't last, and it isn't that important. That little kettle, whether we replace it or not, isn't going to last forever. It's not important if it's not in the best condition--it still works and I think it still looks okay, so why replace it? I really like it."
My mom sat in thought for a few moments, then rose without a word and began cleaning. Did she even care about what I'd just said? Maybe not. But that wasn't why I said it. I said it because I hoped that someone would hear it, and possibly remember it later. It was cliche, but sometimes cliche is like that for a reason--people need to hear it.
I have many wonderful memories of using that kettle, odd as it may sound. I remember one of my brothers and his girlfriend showing up early one morning to make us breakfast and tea, and how when they were pouring the hot water from the kettle we were cracking jokes and almost dropping it through our laughter. I remember getting up on cold mornings and using the flame under it and the hot steam rolling out of the spout to heat up, then telling my sister to do the same, and how we giggled in a giddy way when our mother asked what we were doing. I remember coming in from playing in the snow and filling it to the brim so we could make hot chocolate, and how everyone was thrilled to see that little kettle squealing on the stove top.
By this point you're probably thinking, "She's getting all sentimental over a tea kettle." Well, yes, of course I am. I've found through most of my life that a replacement is never the same. It might seem just as good--or maybe even better--but oftentimes I find it to be worse than the original. I would much rather preserve something old that I love than replace it--wouldn't you? If we were to get a new kettle, chances are I wouldn't associate its appearance with all those happy memories I mentioned before. Then I might stop thinking of them whenever I go to make a cup of tea. Then I might start forgetting them completely.
This doesn't go for everything, as you know. Sometimes things can't be preserved or kept, like a shirt or something. Those just get worn out looking, then unwearable. A kettle, however, is much more durable and will last much, much longer.
I'm aware this story probably didn't mean that much to you, but that's alright. It meant something to me, and that's what's important. The same goes for that little kettle--it doesn't mean much to my parents, but it does to me.
I have nothing against my parents for that conversation at all. In fact, I understand their point of view. It's just a thing. But it does make me happy, and shouldn't we keep what makes us happy? I'm not saying keep everything. I'm just saying that, if it's a seemingly mundane object like a tea kettle, but it makes someone happy to use that specific one every day, why replace it?
P.S. If you were wondering, I was the one who made the chip in the lid.
10/11/2016 10:42:42 pm
I agree 100% Lissie, people worry far to much about how things look and so on. I am actually quite proud of you for even saying anything about it, regardless of if your parents will listen to you on the subject.
10/11/2016 11:05:50 pm
I've been dealing with people fretting over appearances far too much lately, it seems. Even with simple things like my teeth, people are pressuring me to get braces. I understand people wanting them, but for me it wouldn't help my mouth do a better job or anything. All it would do is "Make me prettier". That's the least of my concerns. Why not take the money and time that would take and put it toward something better, like perhaps helping with my youth group. Same kind of goes for the tea kettle--take that ten, fifteen dollars they'd probably spend and put it toward bettering either the kingdom of God or something way more important.
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