November 2, 2009

Not So Perfect




Almost forty years ago I made this little cup. It’s been packed up and moved with me at least a dozen times, and never, not once, have I thought about throwing it out. It was the first thing I ever made.

It’s supposed to be a Japanese tea cup, a beautiful thing for a graceful ceremony. I was nine; grace and beauty weren’t within my reach then – and often aren’t now – but I tried anyway.

The cup is too shallow, the rim too wide, the glaze drips down the side without pattern, my little fingertips left indents where there should have been a smooth surface. I compared my cup to those made by my classmates and came up short; I may have cried.

It now sits on the china hutch where everyone can see it. I keep it because it reminds me that something doesn’t have to be perfect to be precious. It’s a good lesson about the other parts of life too.

In the last few years I’ve ventured into making things again. Sometimes they’re beautiful and sometimes they’re kind of pathetic. There probably isn’t an artistic masterpiece in my future and it doesn’t matter a bit. What I love is dropping into a meditative state when I’m mid-project, the sense of curiosity about where I’m being led, the satisfaction of having done my best.

If, in the end, I’ve made a thing of beauty, that’s an extra gift.

10 comments:

Lucy said...

"something doesn’t have to be perfect to be precious."
Love this reminder! xo

Star said...

Wise words--words that I need to take to heart. I often project so far down the road that I can't even start because I've psyched myself out. I'm glad you kept your reminder front and center (now I need to search out a less-than-perfect piece to remind me that joy doesn't have to come in a perfect wrapper).

PixieDust said...

An absolute thing of beauty, yes... I love that this cup, that the little nine-year old you has made it safely from home to home...

:-)

(((hugs))),
love,
me

GreenishLady said...

I love your cup, and I love your cottage, and I'm running past with the intention to return later and sit a while on that porch to catch up with you. Thanks for sending on your address! You may be tempting me back into the blogging world here! Thanks!

GreenishLady said...

I love your cup, and I love your cottage, and I'm running past with the intention to return later and sit a while on that porch to catch up with you. Thanks for sending on your address! You may be tempting me back into the blogging world here! Thanks!

Patresa said...

Cara, you clearly 'get' that it's the journey, not the destination that counts. What a gift.

Jessie said...

This is a beautiful new space, dear friend. I feel like I've just sat down to enjoy a cup of tea with you. Served in a perfectly imperfect cup, to boot! :)

Bella Rum said...

Beautiful sentiment and so true. Few things are perfect in life.

I love how you elevated a simple object to its proper place, and then thought to share your perspective with us.

Becca said...

What a good idea to have a tangible reminder of a very important message. You little cup (and you!) are indeed very precious.

smith kaich jones said...

Oh, it is wonderful! And this sentence - The cup is too shallow, the rim too wide, the glaze drips down the side without pattern, my little fingertips left indents where there should have been a smooth surface - oh my! I just know it feels good in your hand, I just know it.

LOVE your blog!

:) Debi