My parents collected beautiful, delicate pottery from Southeast Asia. Since these pieces were arranged around the house just out of reach of running children and frisky dogs, it was not until I was a teenager that I noticed a vase that did not fit with the rest of the collection.
The vase had once been a fine antique with a cream glaze and blue Japanese design, but now it was damaged. It stood amid the finer pieces, a mass of cracks, crudely glued together with what was obviously the wrong type of adhesiveâ€”everywhere the 20 or so pieces met one another, glue had bubbled out yellow as it dried, creating the effect of scabrous scars.
â€śWhy donâ€™t you get rid of that one?â€ť I asked my mother.
â€śNever,â€ť she replied. â€śItâ€™s the most valuable piece of pottery we have in this house.â€ť Then she told me the story behind the cracked vase.
Lillian Daniel is senior pastor at First Congregational Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, a board member for Interfaith Worker Justice, and author of When â€śSpiritual but Not Religiousâ€ť Is Not Enough (Jericho Books).