At the end of each school year in college, all the girls who would be living in the house the following year participated in a lottery to determine the order in which we would choose our rooms. (Yes, I went to an all women’s college…and yes, we lived in houses–not dorms.) The seniors, of course, chose from the best single rooms in the house. We spent part of that day checking out each other’s rooms so we could make a list of our top three or four choices. But not me. I had spent that year with a wall protruding into my room, so there was only one room I wanted (the best room in the house of course)…and I was not going to waste my time picking out a second or third choice. And…apparently…I made this known…to everyone!
When it came time to draw the numbers from the hat, the whole house was gathered in the common room. As my turn to draw came up, everyone in the house started cheering me on, “One! One! One! One! One!” It started off low…but as I approached the hat it got louder and louder: “ONE! ONE! ONE! ONE! ONE!” The windows were rattling to the noise.
I stuck my hand in the hat. “ONE! ONE! ONE! ONE! ONE!”
I could feel two numbers in my hand. Which should I keep? Which should I drop?
“ONE! ONE! ONE! ONE! ONE! ONE! ONE! ONE! ONE! ONE!”
I could feel it! I was going to get that room!!
I dropped one of the two numbers and pulled it out.
“ONE! ONE! ONE! ONE! ONE!”
I looked at the number…and fell to my knees. Not one. Not anywhere near one. The last pick was 50…I pulled the 50. I’m not sure if I was laughing so hard that I cried, or if I was laughing at my tears…but I remember laughing and crying simultaneously.
The house resident gave me a green mug as a consolation prize for getting the last pick. But I love that mug. Or rather…loved that mug. It was the perfect reminder that we can plan and plan….and want and want…but nothing happens without God’s will. I Praise God that whenever I forget that, God sends me His signs to remind me. I loved that mug because it was one of those signs.
It was my favorite mug…until yesterday. My eleven year old, who has been told over and over to use plastic cups, was drinking in it. When he finished, he didn’t put it in the sink. He didn’t put it on the coffee table next to him. He balanced it on the arm of the couch. A moment later, my three year old approached…and the mug fell to its death.
I did love that mug, but I don’t need it to remember that beautiful day when I felt supported by all my housemates. I don’t need it to remember that we take each step in life only by God’s will. But it breaking was a good chance for me to teach my kids that material things are replaceable. Life’s true treasures are our loved ones… and memories of beautiful moments.