I arose early today, earlier than normal, well before the sun, even before my coffee pot began his daily work. I prodded him awake–yes it’s a him, his nametag does read Mr. Coffee–and he got right to work grumbling loudly.
As I quietly waited for him, I did a few odds and ends–a load of laundry begun, dogs let out into the darkness. I confess, I too grumbled loudly as I cleaned up after the puppies. It is most often at morningtide when I wonder why people have pets.
A hissing sound, Mr. Coffee clearing his throat, tells me that he is done brewing. I fill my cup and sit at my desk. Before turning on the lamp, I stare out into the darkness. How long before the sun rouses? Two hours hence and he has yet to make an appearance.
I read from a variety of books, old and familiar friends: the Bible, a book of Psalms, and the Valley of Vision. I pick up a new book from one of the stacks that always surround me, Thumbprints in the Clay by poet Luci Shaw. Poets see beauty in the ordinary. Her opening chapter is a meditation on coffee mugs, a welcome read as I await the daylight. Shaw writes, “Somehow, the satisfaction of really good coffee is enhanced by the beauty of the coffee mug.” I pause to look up at my new mug, an object of beauty no doubt, hand crafted by the same caring hands that made my last one.
Somehow, the satisfaction of really good coffee is enhanced by the beauty of the coffee mug.-Luci Shaw
The casual observer would notice that the two mugs share a similar shape and size, but that the design is quite different. As an intimate observer, I notice it is lighter, perhaps only a few grams, but I knew the other so well that the change is immediately evident. I notice too that it fits my hand differently, perhaps in the same way that holding hands with my wife and daughter differ. Both comfortable, but somehow distinct.
As I feel the radiated warmth of the coffee upon my hand, I run my thumb over the textured trees, familiarizing myself with them. Lord willing, I will come to know this mug as fully as I knew the last.
And as I ponder, I am reminded that man too was fashioned from clay, bearing the marks of his Creator. Every person we meet bears evidences of God’s “thumbprints,” and each possesses a uniqueness and beauty found in no one else. Hand made things invite us to intimacy and point us to a deeper awareness of God’s love for the unique splendor of each image bearer.