It doesn't seem like that difficult of a task: pour the water from the pitcher into a designated receptacle. It's a task that I complete several times per day in various forms and without incident. In fact, without even really noticing it at all. It's a task so mundane, so routine that it's something I hardly notice. You probably don't notice it that often, either.
Except that I have this one pitcher....
Very early on when I got this pitcher, I accidentally dropped it in the floor. No big deal, except that the very end of the spout broke off. And now, instead of having a nice, smooth exit point for the water contained therein, it just sort of...ends. Abruptly. The nice, rounded, well-flowing spout is now stubby and short and box-ended, flat. And you wouldn't think it would make a difference, but it does. Every time I fill that pitcher up and start to pour it, the contents just go everywhere. I mean, everywhere. It spills out over the side and dribbles down the front and makes just a glorious mess. Every. Time.
You might say, then why do I keep that pitcher? Why not just get a new pitcher? But it's not that easy. You see, this pitcher has a specific purpose; it's part of a set. It's the pitcher that came with my iced tea maker, so it's the one that is just the right height and size to fit under the kettle and brew the decaf iced tea that I love so much. That's not a pitcher you can just replace (for some reason - maybe they sell them on their website; I don't know). It's not something where I can just go to the nearest big box store and buy any old pitcher and put it in there. This has to be a specific pitcher, and if I want to replace this pitcher (in any way that is convenient), I have to buy a whole new tea maker. (And trust me, I know - because I saved the pitcher from my old iced tea maker when it finally bit the dust, but the old pitcher doesn't fit under the new maker, even though they are the same brand. That's how they get you.)
So every morning, I go into the kitchen, and I fill this broken pitcher and I think to myself, this time. This time, I am going to pour this water into the reservoir without spilling it everywhere. That's yet to happen. Not once. And the first cup of tea that I pour usually goes everywhere, too.
See, this pitcher only doesn't pour correctly when it's full. But because of the nature of its use, it's always full when I start to pour it.
It just baffles my mind every time. It really does. How it is that a few tiny millimeters of chipped curve off the end of a spout, and this pitcher just refuses to pour neatly? How is it that a little tiny imperfection, a little tiny bit of brokenness in just, apparently, the wrong place and this pitcher can no longer do the one thing it was designed to do - pour? I keep telling myself it shouldn't be this difficult. I keep telling myself it shouldn't be so hard.
Oh, and for the record? A member of my family asked me how it is that I can't pour this pitcher without making a mess, and I explained the broken spout and was told, That shouldn't make a difference. But then, this family member attempted to pour the pitcher and...made a mess.
It makes a difference.
A simple, little broken spout makes a big difference. It's incredible. Give me any other pitcher in the world, and I'm a pouring pro. Give me the broken pitcher, and I can't do it.
It just makes me think about all the good and beautiful things that I want to pour out into the world and all the times I mess it up (which is a lot). It makes me think about the times I even tried really hard, knowing the places I was prone to fail, and it didn't matter - I failed anyway. It makes me think about all the moments that I wish I had back, all the chances I want to do it all over again.
It makes me think about my own broken spout and how sometimes, that's the whole reason I just seem to make a mess of things. And it makes me think about what it would mean to fix my broken spout, to have God round out the flat places in me and restore them. To have Him heal what is broken, even what seems just a few tiny millimeters off.
It's easy to convince ourselves that such little things shouldn't matter, that we should somehow just be able to love right through them. But the testimony of our lives is that...it's not that easy. We try to love right through them, but we fall short. We try really hard, but we still mess up. We know what we're going for, but we still spill out over the sides or dribble down the front and make a mess. It's easy to tell ourselves that such little things shouldn't matter, but they make a real difference.
They really do.
So let us be a people who take our little things to God. Yes, even those little things. Because we just never know what kind of big difference they're making.