Life lessons are not often without clean up required.

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So, I was doing something nice, making tea, getting a tray ready. A croissant toasting, and the pot of tea brewing. I reached up into my cabinet and took out my newest teacup that I acquired at a flea market. Turned around and a little dude had snuck behind me silently, I was startled and the cup dropped. Well, china and ceramic tile don’t mix, and it shattered.

Unintentional accident. I dropped my cup, my toast burnt while cleaning it up. I shouted, then cried, then I apologized. Sounds like words to a country song. I initially placed prize value on my now broken cup, instead of the not-so-little one who had snuck up behind me. Of course it was accidental, and partially rule-breaking, as I have told them before not to come in the kitchen.

The thing is, life is more fragile than a teacup, and of much greater value than a rare find. Kindness was required and care in cleaning up both the shattered pieces and also in the relationship being brought to tension.

Proverbs 3:3-4 “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.”

The human heart is so fragile, when an incident occurs, if even a thought or word is shared harshly, it can cause damage in so many ways. Broken relationships are a bane of our lives, and occur all too often. Perhaps sometimes it is because we are all valuing the wrong thing and not responding in the right way to life.

In my small incident this morning, I did not make myself known for my soft response initially. I was the harsh person who forgot what kindness is. That was quickly remedied when I paused and looked at my son and remembered a material thing is not so important. I picked up the pieces of the cup, placed them on the counter and asked God to put that gentleness in me. We all have those moments, when we want to lash out, and then feel that prodding of the heart, to be kind.

When I chose the kindness, there was restored favor. My son was able to ask and inquire if I could fix the cup. I told him no, but I could still do something with it perhaps. He needed to know that the favor was there and that it was not the end of the world. I think that despite my initial reaction, the circumstance was valuable and able to show me a lesson of life. I now, with a different teacup, am able to sit and contemplate and enjoy favor. The boys are back to their happy play and it is nice and calm.

This verse in Proverbs was what I had planned on writing about today, I suppose I required this reminder first: That kindness goes a lot further and the result that comes when kindness is shown is favor. This verse is speaking of having integrity, having kindness and truth as your name tag. While many might think of integrity for large things only, it is a lifestyle of integrity even in the small stuff, even in the daily tasks of interacting with others in your home. Having integrity bound to us is living a godly wise life. We are to wear our integrity as a beautiful adornment both inside and outside. When we are known by integrity, kindness, and truth, we have both favor and a good reputation before God and before those around us.

The beauty is that, even if we mess up at first, there is often a second chance with God. He will gives us the opportunity to practice kindness and to walk in integrity. I am so glad there is forgiveness and glad I too get a second chance at living in kindness and picking up the pieces.

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